I came across yet another Google Beta product called Google Insights for Search. It lets you see the popularity of a particular search term over time. Currently the data goes back to 2004. It normalizes the data based on the most popular search term in the period, so you can’t glean any absolute data about searches, but it can show you how a particular search term or terms are trending.
I took a look at the keywords geotechnical and geotech and saw an interesting trend. Searches for the word geotech (red curve below) stayed pretty consistent at about 18-22% of the peak interest in the term geotechnical. But you can see in the figure below that searches for geotechnical have dropped by 60% since 2004 (blue curve). (Image by Google)
What could be causing this decline? Is it simply a result of more complicated or specific searches replacing the general “geotechnical” search? Or does it truly represent a declining interest in geotechnical engineering? I don’t know the answer, but I welcome any insights you might have on this in the form of comments.
Just for comparison, I checked out a few other searches as well. I tried to group searches that had similar volumes otherwise the lower traffic volume ones get lost at the bottom of the chart. Some of them show a similar downward trend. I have got to imagine that the overall number of searches performed by everyone, including those in the geotechnical and geological communities, has to have increased since 2004. So if these searches are declining, which ones are increasing? If you find that out, be sure to let me know.