Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Word Play - Visualizing Google's Bi-gram Data

Those who know me know my fascination for the spoken and written word (perhaps too much so) - the way words fold together; how phrases and useage reveal underlying thought processes, assumptions and hidden structures of thought and orientation - semantic networks. I am also fascinated with maps; I regularly check into CAIDA (The Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis), TouchGraph, Google Maps Mania, Google Analytics and other sites to poke around and play with the datasets and visualization tools which deal with the net.

A really interesting set of visualizations is offered by Chris Harrison on his Word Association page using an advanced plugin for Word Press. The plugin is a powerful datasieve that sends multiple queries to Google, Alta Vista and several other search engines and accumulates word frequency data which can then be ordered and arrayed in various ways.

The Word Association page has produced some thought-provoking information on word frequency and links - for instance, the word 'he' is often found with 'argues' while 'she' is often found with 'loves' (on Men/Women) [I love that ^-^]. Also interesting are Adults/Kids, Faith/Science and my favorite (because I get into this argument a lot) - Art/Design.

Chris is a four year Ph.D. student in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie-Mellon University and a Microsoft Research PHD who has been providing associative maps and visualizations for huge data sets including Amazon, Digg, the Bible and many others. Take a poke into his visualization projects page for other interesting and thought-provoking data.

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