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Re: Google trends

From: Patrick Ion <ion@ams.org>
Date: Sat, 15 Jul 2006 15:44:58 -0400
Message-Id: <78B79E24-33A1-4E4C-A15E-2D239983A8F9@ams.org>
Cc: <www-math@w3.org>
To: "<juanrgonzaleza@canonicalscience.com>" <juanrgonzaleza@canonicalscience.com>
Dear Juan,

In another message you bring up some, at first glance amusing, results
from Google Trends.  But I think that mention of them in this discussion
is probably specious.   Google Trends says of itself
Google Trends aims to provide insights into broad search patterns.
As a Google Labs product, it is still in the early stages of  
Also, it is based upon just a portion of our searches, and several
approximations are used when computing your results. Please
keep this in mind when using it.

The first thing one notes about the graphs is that there
seems to be no vertical scale.  This makes them hard
to interpret rationally.  Scientific data without scales is
not very helpful.

In any case, you point out disparagingly that MathML is
a flat line relative to CSS:


I note that SGML is a flat line relative to CSS or XML.


I remark that ISO 12083 does not have enough search volume to show  


though MathML does.


CML does only because it can mean many things,


CellML and MatML do not, though both are significant.


Results for CSS (or XML) and Maple, Mathematica and Matlab seem
skewed by the fact that Maple can show up in a number of
ways unrelated to computer algebra systems.


Finally, it is nice to note that as a search topic CSS is
now just beating out Britney Spears and Madonna.


This might provide a clue as to what may also be going
on, if the vertical scales on the diagrams were there.


After all, CSS is collecting some traffic for the Center for
Sustainable Systems (University of Michigan here in
Ann Arbor, like Google's just announced new office),
Cornell Composting Science, various Community and
Social Services, etc.  For that matter Madonna covers a
number of instances too.

I conclude that we are not any more informed by the figures
from Google Trends than we were when we knew that CSS
is much wider known and deployed than MathML, which we
all have from the  start. CSS is supposed to address a much
wider scope of issues.

That last point could suggest that specific areas of application
may sometimes require special treatment of certain issues
that cannot be adopted for as universal measures.  That is,
I think, what we have in the case of math.  In any case,
a MathML revision needs to take careful note of what's now
doable with CSS, and perhaps CSS can take note of any
remaining special needs of math's 'one-and-a-half- and
two-dimensional text' with font choices carrying heavy
semantic loads.

Received on Saturday, 15 July 2006 19:45:24 UTC

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