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?
I guess, only time will provide answers to all these questions. Signing off after attaching a live gadget from google trends.
- 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 ?
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 :-)