Google just announced a new angle to their Internet search called Google Trends, which lets you track how many searches and how much news attention certain terms have garnered in the past couple of years, and to compare the results of multiple terms. You do a search for say, jessica simpson and nintendo by typing in “jessica simpson, nintendo,” and Google creates a pretty graph to show you how the two terms compare.

Because I like to see how popular culture rubs up against things like genocide, I did a search to compare how often Jessica Simpson, Nintendo, and Darfur were searched for, and how often they were mentioned in the news. Here’s the pretty graph Google produced:

Nintendo Wins As you can see, since the beginning of 2004, Nintendo has been the steady leader in Internet searches, with Jessica Simpson edging up from below in mid 2004 and early 2005. What inspired the spikes? Marriage issues, right?

I am of course not surprised that Darfur was barely searched for at all, but what is surprising is how popular Nintendo is! Do people just sit around and think, “What am I interested in? Can I Google it?” and then they Google “Nintendo”? I think I’ll Google “corn flakes” after I finish this post.

Until late 2004, Darfur was steadily edging out Nintendo in the “News volume” stakes, but something happened in 2005 that made Nintendo a more common mention in the news than Darfur. Were the owners of Nintendo raping women, pillaging villages, and killing boys looking for water? Or was that Nick Lachey?

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