Yet, news stories covering it are dropping at the same time.
I got an email from Ahrvid Engholm, an IT journalist in Stockholm, Sweden who was concerned about the “autosuggest” for the word “climategate” in Google disappearing. He was concerned about the post November 25th trend and invited me to take a look at a tool I was unfamiliar with called “Google Trends”. He writes:
Go to Google Trends – www.google.com/trends – write “climategate” and something very interesting will appear in front of your eyes. Select “The last 30 days” to the right.
I did just that, and here is the resulting graph, edited a bit to fit in the WUWT blog space, but you can see for yourself at the link provided.
Note that the trend graph is 4 days behind in data, which is apparently normal. But, there’s some interesting things happening.
Many people outside of the USA may not be aware of why there was a drop around November 25th in the Search Volume Index.
It is likely caused by the second largest US American Holiday called “Thanksgiving” which was on Thursday, November 26th. The drop starts on Nov 25th as people start their travel plans and leave the office and schools early.
Then the upwards trend resumes on November 28th when people in the USA return from that holiday.
No nefarious Google motives here. But with the rising search popularity, it does make a fly in the ointment for why Google’s “autosuggest” function in the search box is no longer suggesting “climategate” as it once was..
Does Al Gore’s position on Google’s senior advisory board have any bearing? In Al’s bio at http://www.algore.com/about.html he says:
“A member of the Board of Directors of Apple Computer, Inc. and a Senior Advisor to Google, Inc. Gore is also Visiting Professor at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.”
It seems he has done some “advising” of Google’s search quality in the past. Here’s a story from the New Yorker via Newsbusters about that very subject. There is some history there that has some bearing on the current situation.
In the case of “Climategate”, Mr. Gore’s ability to continue his current speaking engagements might be hampered. Thus, there could well be a motive for him doing some “advising” in this case. A phone call might be all it took.
Word from some others doing investigations say Google senior staff has told them the removal of “Climategate” from the autosuggest in web searches is algorithm based.
But the Google trends data suggest otherwise, particularly since it was restored and operating in Googles autosuggest feature back on November 28th, as documented here on WUWT.
Now it is gone again. Did the removal of “climategate” from the autosuggest feature make recent Google Trends data lower that the peak on November 29th? Only time will tell us.
In the meantime, I’m switching my default search engine to Bing, which doesn’t have such problems and doesn’t have Al Gore as an “advisor”.
Bing on November 28th:
UPDATE: 10 minutes later…