Searching Every Book – Google Books N-gram Viewer

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This article is part of our new series, dedicated to finding Cool S#!t Online. Make sure you follow us on Facebook, or add us to your RSS to hear about more Cool S#!t!

What is Google Books?

books_logo_lgThe short answer: Google Books is an archive of millions and millions and millions of books, that have been scanned and converted to searchable text by Google (and you). The obvious reason is to have books previously only available in paper available, to read or search online. My favorite piece of trivia about the project is that the majority of Captchas you fill out online are actually Google’s way of getting you to pitch in and help convert books to a searchable format, absolutely genius, getting us to work for free!

The Long Answer: Read more on Wikipedia

What is an n-gram?

An n-gram is essentially a chart that shows the usage of words in a body of text or speech. It get’s more complex than that, but I’m going to skip the details and get to the fun stuff.

Now that Google has a searchable copy of over 30 million books, and they are also masters of things like n-grams, why not let us search the entire library for individual words, and their usage over time?

And that is exactly what they did. They also let you compare words against the usage of other words, so… getting on to the Cool part of this article, let’s do some searching.

Do Art and Business mix?

I compared the words Business, Commerce, Design, Advertising and Art

design more used than art

The Basics of reading an n-gram: Each line is a word or phrase, the chart’s y-axis (on the left) shows the % that word is used out of ALL the words or phrases in Google Books. The n-gram anlo limits by language, in this case I am using English. I went wide with my x-axis, showing everything 1800-2000, but when you try your own out, you can limit the dates.

I started out in our industry; design for business. It was neat to see the entry of advertising into books around the 1900s, but what was really interesting was that design passed art in usage somewhere in the early 80s. The fact that design is written about more than art (at least in books) is a conversation that deserves it’s own post because of it’s massive cultural implications. Still, even though I feel art should keep it’s strong position I can’t say I wasn’t a little stoked to see design on the rise.

Using it in your Business

Generally this kind of data is much more useable on a tiny scale, data about what people are talking about this month, week, or even TODAY can be very useful in capturing business. If you have a business that tracks longer term social trends, I could see this being an extremely valuable tool.

Try your own search, and then tell us what you found in the comments!

nomJams, 2013: Part 2

I really had fun putting together the last nomJams 2013 mixtape and figured there was so much I left out that I should make a follow-up! Enjoy!

nomJams, 2013: Part 2 from nomBat on 8tracks Radio.

  1. “Invisible” – Dismemberment Plan from Uncanny Valley
  2. “Californiyeah” – !!! from THR!!!LER
  3. “Blow My Mind” – Sasha Go Hard from Round 3
  4. “Wanderlust” – The Weeknd from Kissland
  5. “Retrograde” – James Blake from Overgrown
  6. “24 Hours” - Sky Ferreira from Night Time, My Time
  7. “Porno” – Arcade Fire from Reflektor
  8. “Spa Day” – Le1f from Fly Zone
  9. “Lungs” – CHVRCHES from The Bones Of What You Believe
  10. “Here We Go Again” – Johnny Stimson
  11. “Bring the Noize” – M.I.A. from Matangi
  12. “Ingenue” – Atoms for Peace from Amok
  13. “Will Calls (Diplo Remix)” – Grizzly Bear from Shields: B-sides
  14. “Barely Legal” – Azealia Banks
  15. “Always Forever” – Cults from Static
  16. “Pacific Rim” – Ramin Djawadi & Tom Morello from Pacific Rim

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nomJams, 2013

Music is a big part of my life, especially my design life (which is practically my entire life, but I digress). The right music helps me get into the zone! It’s been an amazing year for music, so, I figured I’d compile a list of my favorite jams from 2013 (so far)!

nomJams, 2013 from nomBat on 8tracks Radio.

  1. “Doin’ It Right” – Daft Punk from Random Access Memories
  2. “Weird Shapes” – Surfer Blood from Pythons
  3. “Trying to Be Cool” – Phoenix from Bankrupt!
  4. “Keep It Coochie” – Cakes Da Killa from The Eulogy
  5. “Let’s Kiss” – Mirage from After Dark 2
  6. “Honey” – Cansei de Ser Sexy (CSS) from Planta
  7. “January” – Disclosure from Settle
  8. “Q.U.E.E.N.” – Janelle Monáe from The Electric Lady
  9. “Play by Play” Autre Ne Veut from Anxiety
  10. “Let the Groove Get in” – Justin Timberlake from The 20/20 Experience
  11. “Bridge & Tunnel” – Holy Ghost! from Dynamics
  12. “DRIP” – LSDXOXO from MUAH
  13. “Prince’s Prize” – F**k Buttons from Slow Focus
  14. “Drove Me Wild” – Tegan and Sara from Heartthrob
  15. “Flutes” – Hot Chip from Dark & Stormy
  16. “Odd Look” – Kavinsky from OutRun