Last week, National Public Radio reported that the FBI has been reassessing its investigative methods after failing to anticipate the unrest in the Arab world. Instead of using just covert tools, they’re now turning to Google Trends, checking, for example, when Egyptians started searching the word “Tunis.”
Google Trends gives you a rough idea of what people are thinking about, based on how many times they search a topic. If you compare the graph of search volume for pop stars, it’s clear that “Lady Gaga” (orange line) has quickly risen far above either “Madonna” or “Eminem.”
All sorts of fantastic beings are hot right now, especially, “vampires.”
“Zombies” came back from the dead a few years ago, gobbling up “fairies.”
“Steampunk” is chugging steadily ahead. People run hot and cold on “plein air” painting, depending how nice the weather is outside in the Northern Hemisphere.