After reading a post concerning the PAKDD 2007 competition on Abbott’s Analytics, I was curious about the trends of some data mining methods. I decided to play with Google Trends using three common methods: Support Vector Machine (SVM), Artificial Neural Network (ANN) and Decision Tree (DT). The following picture shows the trends in search on Google for the three terms “svm”, “neural network” and “decision tree” since 2004:
The main observation is that SVM and ANN seem to be less trendy these last years. It is interesting to see that DT are constant over the years. These are the first conclusions we could draw from this picture. However, it is always dangerous to conclude on some numbers. In the above case, several factors have to be taken into account when making such conclusions:
- The way of writing the searched terms. For example, SVM could be found under “support vector machine”, “support vector”, “svm”, etc. However, it seems that “svm” is most often used. The same remark for neural networks is also valid.
- The diversity of search engines. Although the most popular, Google is not the only search engine on the web. A lot of people may use other engines such as Yahoo!, Live Search or All the Web. Only searches on Google are considered in this picture.
- The difference between “searching” and “using”. In other words, people may search for some methods but finally decide to use another one. Therefore, the fact that a keyword is often searched on Google does not mean that the corresponding method is used.
Consequently, even if these kind of plots look nice, interpreting the information they give and in which context it is valid is not an easy task.