When Google announced the release of their 2013 Zeitgeist I was looking forward to having a good-old explore, yet their approach left me feeling a little disappointed.
Google has so much data to work and play with, that I was hoping for an elegant visualisation, yet what the viewer is ultimately presented with is a series of lists and photo squares.
When you click on a particular photo, you’re greeted with a nice dialogue box. But apart from enlarging the photo, displaying the search term / topic and adding some iconography, there really is no other information to look at. Rather than presenting the trends within this dialogue box, those icons simply take you to a new page, and away from Zeitgeist. There you’re able to actually take a look at the data.
The photo squares appear to be sized and ordered in an arbitrary fashion, so good luck hunting for the #1 search term there. In case you were wondering what the top searches were, there happens to be some handy categorised lists at the bottom of the page, but I think they really missed a trick in not incorporating this information into the photo grid.
The globe promises something a bit more exciting at least. Here you’re able to scroll through the top-trends around the world for each day of 2013. This provides you with a fascinating snapshot of what was being searched for at any given time. Yet, the sizing of the text as the visual representation of the data leaves much to be desired. I’d much rather have had the data presented in a bar chart to better compare the terms.
Now, don’t get me wrong, the data Google has captured over the year is fascinating in itself, and being able to see a snapshot of the year as well as scroll through what was trending on any given day is good fun. But I was expecting a bit more from Google in their presentation of the findings.