Google Ngram Viewer – The Beatles weren’t more popular than Jesus, but Madonna was.

Kevin Kelly’s post on the Technium blog has just taken over my Friday evening.

It includes a link to the Google Ngram viewer.

The what?

The Google/University Consortium has digitised over 15 million books so far, and the Ngram viewer allows you to investigate the frequency of use of various words in various languages over two centuries.

It’s absolutely addictive.

Here is the somewhat frivolous example from which this post draws its title.

(Interesting to note that the popularity of “madonna” falls away significantly in the final years of the 20th Century.)

(And that “beatles” was as popular in the early 1800’s as it was in the 1960’s.)

Here’s a less trivial example, comparing the frequency of use of “machine”, “rocket”, “computer” and “automobile”.

Utterly fascinating.

Signing off to keep playing. Cheerio.

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