Google debuts text analysis tools

A new tool for Google allows users to search for phrases within 5.2 million digitized books

Google has introduced two tools that may help users discover new ways to parse the company's massive collections of public information.

One tool counts how often a chosen phrase shows up across 500 years worth of digitized books, while another divvies up search results by their levels of reading difficulty.

The first service called the Books Ngram Viewer, allows people to search for specific phrases within the company's massive collection of digitized books. In addition to links to the source material, the results will also provide a timeline showing when the phrase was most often used.

The tool runs searches against a database of 500 billion words found within 5.2 million books Google has digitized. The sampled books were all published between 1500 and 2008, in Chinese, English, German, French, Russian or Spanish.

With this service, Google hopes to introduce a new form of quantitative analysis to academic fields, one that could provide insights into historical trends or the birth of new ideas by the tracking the popularity of associated words and phrases. One group of researchers has coined the term "culturomics" to describe the approach.

Such metrics can show how phrases come into and move out of vogue, oftentimes due to historical events.

For instance, a search for the phrase "World War One" shows the term began to be used just prior to the outbreak of World War II. Not surprisingly, occurrences of the phrase "The Great War" dropped by the 1950s, which was what World War I was called before people realized there would be a sequel.

Google has also added another form of analysis to its regular search as well: The company has introduced a new advanced search feature that can divide up results by reading level. The search breaks result into basic, intermediate and advanced reading levels.

Although Google does not specify what attributes define each reading level, most readability tests analyze texts by looking at attributes such as the number of words in each sentence or the number of letters and syllables in each word, under the assumption that more complicated sentences would be more difficult to read.

In one sample, 74 per cent of the material on the IDG site InfoWorld is classified as intermediate level, 21 per cent is basic and three per cent is advanced.

Google documentation explains that users might find the distinction of reading levels useful in helping to complete searches. A university professor might want only the advanced results, while a junior high school teacher might want to find more basic material for students.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags cloud computinginternetGooglesearch enginessoftwareapplicationsweb servicesdata mining

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joab Jackson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?