Find out what’s in a word, or five, with the Google Books Ngram Viewer

Thursday, December 16, 2010 at 11:00 AM

Scholars interested in topics such as philosophy, religion, politics, art and language have employed qualitative approaches such as literary and critical analysis with great success. As more of the world’s literature becomes available online, it’s increasingly possible to apply quantitative methods to complement that research. So today Will Brockman and I are happy to announce a new visualization tool called the Google Books Ngram Viewer, available on Google Labs. We’re also making the datasets backing the Ngram Viewer, produced by Matthew Gray and intern Yuan K. Shen, freely downloadable so that scholars will be able to create replicatable experiments in the style of traditional scientific discovery.

Comparing instances of [flute], [guitar], [drum] and [trumpet] (
blue, red, yellow and green respectively)
in English literature from 1750 to 2008

Since 2004, Google has digitized more than 15 million books worldwide. The datasets we’re making available today to further humanities research are based on a subset of that corpus, weighing in at 500 billion words from 5.2 million books in Chinese, English, French, German, Russian, and Spanish. The datasets contain phrases of up to five words with counts of how often they occurred in each year.

These datasets were the basis of a research project led by Harvard University’s Jean-Baptiste Michel and Erez Lieberman Aiden published today in Science and coauthored by several Googlers. Their work provides several examples of how quantitative methods can provide insights into topics as diverse as the spread of innovations, the effects of youth and profession on fame, and trends in censorship.

The Ngram Viewer lets you graph and compare phrases from these datasets over time, showing how their usage has waxed and waned over the years. One of the advantages of having data online is that it lowers the barrier to serendipity: you can stumble across something in these 500 billion words and be the first person ever to make that discovery. Below I’ve listed a few interesting queries to pique your interest:

World War I, Great War
child care, nursery school, kindergarten
fax, phone, email
look before you leap, he who hesitates is lost
virus, bacteria
tofu, hot dog
burnt, burned
flute, guitar, trumpet, drum
Paris, London, New York, Boston, Rome
laptop, mainframe, microcomputer, minicomputer
fry, bake, grill, roast
George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln

We know nothing can replace the balance of art and science that is the qualitative cornerstone of research in the humanities. But we hope the Google Books Ngram Viewer will spark some new hypotheses ripe for in-depth investigation, and invite casual exploration at the same time. We’ve started working with some researchers already via our Digital Humanities Research Awards, and look forward to additional collaboration with like-minded researchers in the future.

(Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog) Read the full post 0 comments


Discover more than 3 million Google eBooks from your choice of booksellers and devices

Monday, December 06, 2010 at 7:00 AM

Today is the first page in a new chapter of our mission to improve access to the cultural and educational treasures we know as books. Google eBooks will be available in the U.S. from a new Google eBookstore. You can browse and search through the largest ebooks collection in the world with more than three million titles including hundreds of thousands for sale. Find the latest bestsellers like James Patterson’s Cross Fire and Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom, dig into popular reads like Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken and catch up on the classics like Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities and Gulliver’s Travels.

We designed Google eBooks to be open. Many devices are compatible with Google eBooks—everything from laptops to netbooks to tablets to smartphones to e-readers. With the new Google eBooks Web Reader, you can buy, store and read Google eBooks in the cloud. That means you can access your ebooks like you would messages in Gmail or photos in Picasa—using a free, password-protected Google account with unlimited ebooks storage.

In addition to a full-featured web reader, free apps for Android and Apple devices will make it possible to shop and read on the go. For many books you can select which font, font size, day/night reading mode and line spacing suits you—and pick up on the page where you left off when switching devices.

You can discover and buy new ebooks from the Google eBookstore or get them from one of our independent bookseller partners: Powell’s, Alibris and participating members of the American Booksellers Association. You can choose where to buy your ebooks like you choose where to buy your print books, and keep them all on the same bookshelf regardless of where you got them.

When Google Books first launched in 2004, we set out to make the information stored in the world’s books accessible and useful online. Since then, we’ve digitized more than 15 million books from more than 35,000 publishers, more than 40 libraries, and more than 100 countries in more than 400 languages. This deep repository of knowledge and culture will continue to be searchable through Google Books search in the research section alongside the ebookstore.

Launching Google eBooks is an initial step toward giving you greater access to the vast variety of information and entertainment found in books. Our journey has just begun. We welcome your feedback as we read on to the next chapter.

(Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog) Read the full post 0 comments


The Art of Bling!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010 at 8:00 AM

The art of making jewelry is one of those popular hobbies that have truly withstood the test of time. Since adornments have customarily accentuated haute couture, the craft has long been an attractive recreation for creative fashionistas.

Traditional jewelry making has historically been associated with intricately carved precious metals like gold or silver, sometimes embedded with gemstones, diamonds or rubies. Contemporary art jewelry, on the other hand, is made from various materials such as glass, wood, plastic or clay and can be just as exquisite.

Jewelry belonging to Indus Valley civilization 2500-1500 BC.
Source: LIFE Magazine

For instance, "Winged Lady" and "Dragonfly" are some masterpieces of contemporary art by René Jules Lalique. Lalique has often been credited with restyling the art of conventional jewelry in the late 19th century, by experimenting with a variety of materials like glass and creating brilliant works. Ever since, art jewelry has been a powerful medium of expression for designers worldwide.

Gem jewelry.
Source: LIFE Magazine

The avid use of mixed media in contemporary art jewelry has prompted consumers to cultivate distinct tastes and preferences for the craft, thereby making some styles more popular than others. While adornments made with glass, bead and wire, wood and clay have been in vogue among buyers, paper jewelry has not had as much traction.

People are becoming more open to different types of accessories to complement their personal styles. By being trendier and economical, contemporary jewelry is gradually gaining demand among jewelry collectors.

So, if this brief introduction to art jewelry has whet your creative appetite, check out some cool ideas on Google Books and learn more about this splendid craft. Go ahead, accessorize! Read the full post 0 comments