Friday, 23 November 2012

Google Trends prediction,No future for KDE

Snapshot of Google Trends obtained today showing no future trends for KDE
A few days ago i checked out Google Trends for the first time. I wanted to checkout this tool first hand because everyone on the internet seems to talking about it these days about how good it is. It looks looks like any other graph. It is rumoured to be a very powerful tool and is supposed to accurately show various search trends over the years for various search terms. As such the tool is very easy to use you. I could  add a maximum of five search terms on the left hand side. As soon as i enter the search terms on the left hand side of the tool it seemed to tell me how often people around the world have been searching for various terms since 2004. I can imagine Google Trends to be a very basic form of data warehousing and data mining front end tool.
 While i was messing around with the tool i noticed two check boxes at the top right hand side. One is labelled "New Headlines"  and other "Forecast". The Headlines check box is turned ON by default and the tool seems to try and correlate news headlines with search trends. I at once thought that this feature has a lot of hidden potential. I noticed that when i turn ON the other check box the graph extrapolates into the future along x axis(years) probably based on past data of searches made in Google search engine. Future trends are plotted in dotted lines whereas past data is in the form of a contiguous line.
 Now comes the interesting part. I tried to check out the search / popularity trends for the various desktop environments available for Linux namely GNOME, KDE, XFCE, LXDE. As expected KDE started out with higher search numbers (2004) and somewhere around 2005 GNOME surpassed KDE . Then was was revenge of sorts when KDE surpassed its rival GNOME in the beginning of 2008. But GNOME snatched the lead again around second quarter of 2008 and maintains a thin lead over KDE till date. XFCE started with good stats in 2004 but couldn't keep pace with its siblings KDE and GNOME and is now seems to be fighting for a niche market share with its main competitor LXDE which emerged on scene around first quarter of 2008.
 All was well and good until i turned ON the dreaded "forecast" check box to check future trends of the desktop environments. Google seems to be adamant and denies that KDE will exist in near future. I couldn't find an dotted extension for the green line in the above snapshot. It does show a descending curve for GNOME and a stable unwavering lines for XFCE and LXDE. At first when i noticed this a few days ago i thought that it was an anomaly in the tool and decided to checkout the tool later. Bit when i checked it out again today i can confirm that dotted line for KDE is till missing.
Why is the dotted line for KDE missing?
  • Is it because "Canonical pulled the plug on Kubuntu" ?
  • Is it because Google doesn't have enough search data about KDE that it is not able to show future trends ?
  • Is it a prophecy of some sort from Google that KDE would cease to exist ?
  • Or is there a bug in Google Trends ?
I guess, only time will provide answers to all these questions. Signing off after attaching a live gadget from google trends.
Update(24 NOV2012 10:25 GMT)
 Did somebody knock on Google's doors and inform them about the bug. KDE does have a future now :-) It is weird that this bug was there for over one week and after writing this article it disappears. Thank you Google for the quick fix. I have to admit that future is not too rosy though.
KDE has future now :-)


  1. your a moron. The trend line is practically the same for all of the DE. Its sooo subjective this article has no merit.

  2.  Thanks for posting your opinion. I was not talking about past trends but the future trend for KDE is missing :-)

  3. If you do KDE just on it's own it shows a future trend, so bug.

  4. Hi John, Thanks for checking and posting the comment. I checked now and it seems Google has fixed the bug. I ran Goolge Trends again with same params and viola it works now . Have put up updated screenshot . This page had barely 300 hits but Google seemed to take note of things and fix the issue. That is one amazing job. The bug was there for a long time in the system though(in my estimate a few weeks). Hence i decided to post this. But things are back to normal now :-)

  5.  "interest" in the desktop interfaces of Linux seems to be what's being measured, more than future viability.  "interest" can mean a lot of things.  Placing desktop interface milestones on this graph would be smart.

    To me, "interest" is not always a great thing.  It can mean confusion, excessive complexity, or bugs - or community contention.

  6. You have nothing productive at all to do with your time, do you. I suggest thumb twiddling.

  7. Maybe there's less troubleshooting (googling a solution to a problem) with KDE than with gnome. 2008 was the year 4.0 got released which was a mess, hence the 2008 spike. Nowadays KDE works quite well. I cannot say the same thing about Gnome3 (e.g. I had to google on how to shutdown my computer through gnome's menu, without logging out first).

  8.  Thanks Jim for posting your views. Your ideas do make good sense

  9.  Thanks 2eurocents for the "thumb" idea. This post was essentially made to bring out the point that too much of data reading can detrimental in some cases.

  10. Thanks for views Glen. I really wanted to compare various versions of KDE , GNOME etc but as i have stated in the post , Google Trends tool would allow me to plug-in  a maximum of 5 terms only.

  11. Not sure why you're getting hate from commenters. The way I see it, a car that doesn't break down doesn't become the focus of attention. KDE has been great for me and continues to impress, even though they aren't throwing glitter in everyone's eyeballs like GNOME and Unity have been lately.

  12.  Hi Dann, Thanks for posting your views. It is understandable that I receive some negative comments. KDE users tend to be very supportive about their desktop environment. :-)  Also i never imagined that this post will catch the eye of so many users. I also find that people don't read the entire post before commenting . Humans are quite impatient by nature

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  14. Doesn't look like the any Linux Desktop has a great future. Since 2004 the only direction is down.

  15. Hi jhenning, Perhaps you are right. The rate at which smart phones,*pads* are coming out desktop's may become a thing of the past and if google's glasses take off then it might make smart phones ancient devices.



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