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May 12, 2006

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Andrew

Actually an alternative interpretation was given by one of Andrew Sullivan's readers which makes some sense - sophisticated internet users would never type "sex" into Google if they were looking for salacious material - they'd type much more specific terms in. So the high rankings of "sex" in sexually repressed countries could be a more direct reflection of the repression rather than much greater interest in sex than Anglophones - ie, they know so little about sex that just Googling "sex" is the best they can come up with.

Abiola

I don't buy this explanation of things, as for one thing, I very much doubt, for instance, that Poland, with a mere 30 million people, has more "unsophisticated" users than all of the English-speaking world combined, especially when you consider that millions of the English-using searchers are actually from "unsophisticated" parts of the world like Africa and India. The "sophistication" rationale strikes me as a desperate gambit to avoid the obvious conclusion: religious and political repression fosters an obsessive interest in the very things being repressed. *That* is the only plausible reason why (by global standards highly sophisticated) Salt Lake City ranks third in searches for "pornography" - because of a pent-up hunger for something hypocritical, moralizing Mormon elders are always trying to keep from the eyes of their flock.

PS: I also forgot to mention that I know from looking at referrals to this blog that very many of the searches that lead people here are on sexual topics, and not only do the many visitors I get from the Arab world come almost entirely from such searches only, but they are often pretty darned specific about what they're looking for, e.g. ["anal sex in lebanon"], ["haifa wehby" virginity], ["Arab sluts"], etc. I wouldn't have felt comfortable saying it based on my personal stats alone, but I'm pretty confident now that what I long suspected is true: thanks to fanatics who make a sin of bare ankles, the Arab world has gone utterly sex-crazy.

PPS: Try doing a search for "sodomy" - hardly amongst the first words taught in ESL classes - and tell me that the second and third place finishers by language are there due to "unsophistication". The results for "anal sex" are even more telling.

Chuckles

So...what's up with Filipinos? I did a search for Hentai and they popped up everywhere...Germans seem to have a thing for One Night Stands (Cant say theres too much of a suprise there)and I doubt that Iran showing up first (with a very wide lead) in response to a query for "beautiful boy" has anything to do with the Soul. Ahem*, *Ahem*. Sooooo...I figure there must be some "virgin for boys" program being run over yonder at the Pearly Gates. Booming business I must say.

Abiola

"So...what's up with Filipinos? I did a search for Hentai and they popped up everywhere"

They and Indonesia are also first for searches on [Aya Ueto], [Anime], [Samurai] and many other entertainment weighted terms to do with Japan. I suspect this is largely because of the sheer size of their populations, their being in Asia (and therefore more exposed to Japanese cultural exports) and the fact that both countries have lots of people who speak English; other Asian countries would probably figure a lot more prominently if Chinese characters were used.

Then again, it could just be that the Philippines are a nation of millions of basement-dwelling, cartoon-obsessed, socially-retarded perverts.

Tom Davies

Trends seems to give some odd results -- 'wiki' is searched for predominantly from Japan -- is wiki a Japanese word? (it's originally Hawaiian) If not, are the Japanese really so much more interested in Wikis than anyone else?

Julian Elson

Doesn't Google trends normalize the results so that the size of the countries and cities involved don't have any impact on ranking?

Abiola

As far-fetched as it sounds, the "normalized" indicator wasn't on there when I originally posted this. They're clearly still tweaking the service.

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