What Google says about us

A defense attorney in an obscenity case in Florida is trying to use Google search statistics to prove that the “community standards” are all about porn down there. If everyone is searching for it, the attorney is suggesting, it must be acceptable.

The chart measures the words people are entering in the Google search box in Florida. The defense attorney picked three: surfing, orgy, and apple pie.


The chart shows that the people of Florida search for “orgy” (the red line) more often than they search for a recipe for “apple pie.” (the orange line) Surfing (the blue line)? Apparently it’s more fun that I thought. (Disclaimer: This would also include searching “Internet surfing,” which conjures up all sorts of questions on its own.)

Naturally, News Cut’s first reaction (after “nice try, pal!”) is to figure out what the same statistics say about us?


We’re not that interested in surfing — or orgies — apparently, although when broken down by cities, St. Peter has some explaining to do.


Let’s replace “surfing” with “fishing.”


No contest. Take that, Florida perverts!

  • nt

    Well, on the topic of St. Peter, there’s a college there. College males probably spend more time looking for orgies than apple pie recipes (as they have the libido of college males and also have limited access to kitchen facilities).

  • nt

    Oh man, there is hope for our culture! See, Google Trends: boobs, physics,chemistry,science,math

    Note that the cities with colleges, ie St. Peter, Mankato, St. Cloud, are the only ones to care about chemistry or physics…

  • I tried – britney, orgy, fishing – orgy looked pretty low on the list.

    I wonder how many words and phrases the defense team tried in order to make orgy look normal.

    I also assume that orgy is part of the web site this guy is trying to defend. Because you type in other “porn” keywords and they fly way higher in the rankings than the word orgy.

  • JohnnyZoom

    After the compulsory GIGO blow off of the utility of the original search research, two interesting (and irrelevant to the original serach research) observations:

    1) Very well defined annual cycle for “fishing”, both search and news. Although the two cycles are not identical. Fishermen: discuss!

    2) Very well defined annual, er, cycle for “apple pie” as well. Actually, with the exception of a clear spurt in the spring, there isn’t much interest at all. Hypothesis: people search around Mother’s Day, probably in conjunction with “motherhood”.


  • bsimon

    What did I miss in Oct of 2006?

  • bsimon

    Johnny Zoom, I think you misread. That Apple Pie spike is hitting mid-Q4 every year. Right in time for Thanksgiving.

  • JohnnyZoom

    Meh, you’re right. saw the tick by the label as the start of the year. JZ

  • b2

    Just as I suspected. Hopkins and Eden Prairie have nearly no interest at all in cooking OR sex. See also…death of the suburbs.