Google Trends

October 20, 2007

Jack Ganssle-October 20, 2007

Pablo Bleyer Kocik recently emailed an interesting note about Google Trends, a tool I was not familiar with. It displays graphs showing the number of searches made on various keywords. The results are pretty interesting. Consider the keyword "embedded":

Or "FPGA":

And "Firmware":

Do Google searches somehow mirror the society we live in? Can we monitor the flow of memes by searching the searches? Does the decline in searches on embedded topics reflect a slackening of interest in the subject? Could that decline be related to a maturing of the market? If so, one would expect rising interest in hot topics like "quantum computing":

which looks almost quantized itself.

The "iTunes" meme continues to spread:

Results for critically important topics like "Lindsey Lohan" spike at times, probably heavily correlated with rehab sessions:

Britney Spears' star appears in decline, except when she implodes:

I'm not discouraged that the public is far more concerned about celebrities than firmware. And it's totally appropriate that the products we create - the iTunes, iPhones, and Crackberries - garner more user mind-share than their enabling technologies. After all, engineering is about building products that people want, need and use, and is not an end in itself.

But I sure wonder why searches for embedded, FPGA and firmware have been in such steady decline. Any ideas?

Jack G. Ganssle is a lecturer and consultant on embedded development issues. He conducts seminars on embedded systems and helps companies with their embedded challenges. Contact him at His website is

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