Google tracks national search trends to predict World Cup fever (Wired UK)


Google Trends World Cup
Google Trends World Cup


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Google has launched a World Cup
microsite
that analyses how each country is feeling about their
upcoming fixtures based on their search terms.

The World Cup trends page compares the search habits of two
countries that


Google Trends World Cup
Google Trends World Cup


are fated to meet on the
field of glory, then uses a “newsroom” of engineers, analysts and
writers to find interesting pull-out facts. Those facts range from
which Dutch player is more popular in search terms to the
percentage increase in Brazilians looking for instructions on how
to paint their country’s flag on their nails.

Additionally, the page lists standard trends for each of the
matches happening in the tournament, which team is more popular
worldwide, and the top World Cup-related questions on each side.
Some are predictable (“When is the Brazil v Croatia game on?”)
others predictive (“What is the Mexican news saying about Luis
Montes’ injury?” Clearly Ecuador is worried about someone ruining
their chances of a place in the finals).

“You will find a few standard sets of trends, including
sentiment, world focus, questions (which are such an interesting
window into people’s curiosities) world interest, rising players,
and more,” Google’s Roya Soleimani told Wired.co.uk. “The standard
trends are listed for every match up, but the highlights are
gleaned from interesting and surprising info from the data. That’s
where the newsroom comes in.”

The newsroom serves up a “front page” of headline-worthy curios
from the vast swathes of data streaming through Google’s databanks.
Helped in part by interactive agency R/GA London, the team of
designers, search engineers and analysts put the data in context to
give a small window into national feeling about each match-up.

This is explicitly quantified by the sentiment each country
feels towards their national team on Google+. Status updates and
posts from users in each country are analysed for positive, neutral
or negative reaction words in relation to their team and used to
calculate how the country as a whole is feeling towards their next
fixture.

“Trending terms and questions from Search users will also be
used in the analysis,” Soleimani told us. “The words associated
with the sentiment are manually curated by data analysts, and will
be shared before each match.”

For instance, in anticipation of England’s
first match of the tournament
against Italy on Saturday (14
June), English fans appear to be feeling “casual” about the game,
with 57 percent neutral sentiments, 27 percent positive and only 16
percent negative. Italy, however, are feeling merely “okay” about
the prospect of facing the three lions, with similar neutral
sentiments (53 percent) but far more negative, 26 percent at time
of writing.

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Perhaps the spirit of ’66 lies in Big Data.

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12 June 2014 | 5:20 pm – Source: wired.co.uk
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