Fewer and Fewer People Want to Know About Computers, Says Google

By Alexis C. Madrigal

Bouncing around Google's trend data, I came across what to me is a very sad looking chart. It's the search volume for a basket of computer and electronics related terms (e.g. "windows, mac, hp, ipod, google, dell, sony, xbox").


computerslecronics.jpg

We see some seasonality around the holidays, as you would expect, but the dominant trend is DOWN. Every year since Google started tracking this information in 2004, the number of people trying to find information about computers has marched ever downwards. Of course, that could just mean that people understand their machines better or that the machines themselves are good enough that people don't need to look things up about them as often. Or perhaps people have settled into their brand preferences and don't comparison shop like we used to in the old Computer Shopper days. 

But whatever the reasons -- and with a trend this big and long, it's almost certainly many reasons -- the number of people interested enough to Google things about desktops, laptops, and other electronics has been halved since 2004. 

One partial explanation worth noting is the rise of the phones and other mobile technologies. Luckily, Google lets you plot this against the decline of computer-related search volume. 

searchtraffic_mobilecomp.jpg


This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/08/fewer-and-fewer-people-want-to-know-about-computers-says-google/261271/