Google Trends: Portland Among Top 10 Cities Searching on "Genetic Testing"

According to Google Trends, Portland ranks among the top 10 cities searching for information on "genetic testing" or "dna testing." Other cities in the top 10 included Salt Lake City, Boston, and Minneapolis, in the top three slots. Portland came in seventh, after Melbourne, Australia.

What does this mean? Google Trends is an experimental tool that allows you to "compare the world's interest in your favorite topics." By entering up to five topics, the tool creates a search-volume graph to depict how many searches have been done on a given topic relative to the total number of searches done over time.

I compared both "genetic testing" and "dna testing" to see what sorts of trends would be generated by the tool. While the terms aren't completely synonymous (dna testing points to more legal and criminal uses than medical), adding the two provided more data to analyze. The graph below shows the results (blue=genetic testing; red=dna testing). The letters refer to spikes in the volume of news stories for each term. Below the graph is another image that shows the city rankings for each term (not included here).

Click here to see the results, as well as try your own searches.

Another search trends tool out there is called, which tracks search results on keywords submitted by users across Google, MSN Search, and Yahoo. I had submitted a number of terms over a year ago, but then kind of lost interest. You can still find the trend maps for the following keywords: dna; genetic+policy; geneforum; and genomics medicine.

Alex Fowler
afowler's blog