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Researching Google search

Mukul Pal 

We took — and still take — pride in writing about ideas that could not be found on Google. Getting indexed was a great feeling. But then search engine optimisation happened, and the fun sport became big-buck soccer. It was not about what content you created, it was more about how well-tagged and searched and researched you were. But time is a strange entity; it keeps moving. This is why cycles occur, growth and decay take place and level-playing fields get recreated.

Google search is a powerful tool. Maybe, the most powerful of our times. But history suggests there are only a few sustaining ideas which last beyond a century. Can Google evolve beyond a century? What if we have inflation, war, social unrest, food crisis or power or food shortage? How key would internet be 100 years from now? Is there something beyond information? If everything is exponential, including the accelerating universe (Nobel prize, 2011), how can information generation and access not be exponential? And if everything exponential is also prone to decay, why can’t an information society give way to something else, something newer? These are hard questions to ponder. Well, change is hard to predict and we have little clue what will happen.

Orpheus ranking system studies a group of variables. These can be assets or even emotions. We have constantly tested new groups to showcase the workability of time fractals outside capital . Seasonality works in all natural systems.

We decided to test our algorithms on Google search data. Emotions are important for economics. We took a group of emotions and ran a ranking test on these to see a trend, a jiseki cycle, to not only see which emotion came tops and which last, but also to anticipate whether the society is getting happier or not. Robert Prechter’s socionomics has laid down clear guidelines how mood can predict the market.

So, if we could establish that fear was increasing or decreasing in society, we could feel its pulse. This could be a powerful tool. We took the five-year data of all possible emotions from anger to anxiety, excitement to fear and hope to surprise. We ranked these for a quarter. Guess which came tops? Hope and surprise were at the top, while apathy and anxiety were at the bottom. Performance cycles in prices become sentiment cycles when we study emotions.

The plot suggests falling boredom, hope and hostility cycles on one side, and rising excitement, bottoming jealousy, strengthening loneliness and stagnating love on the other. Now, we can have a fundamental research on this. How good is Google search sample of emotions? Whether the internet user is happy when he Google searches happiness? We could also ask specific questions regarding why is the jiseki cycle of search on loneliness strengthening while that of the number of searches regarding love stagnating?

Everything from the number of searches to what we search is connected with time, and any predictive cycle tool that can measure and anticipate emotion can help researchers understand where a society is headed and where it was when hope was rising and where will it go when hope shall fall.

The author is CMT and co-founder, Orpheus CAPITALS, a global alternative research firm

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First Published: Wed, November 02 2011. 00:25 IST