Which Are the Most Popular Price Searches?

The Computer Corner

By Charles Miller

A site found on the World Wide Web is fixr.com on which anyone may search for building and remodeling prices. The next time you need to know how much it might cost to wallpaper a room in Boston, this web site is a good place to start. The programmers who created it obviously had to collect a lot of statistics to populate their database with information about what things cost and where, so in the process of doing this they seem to have data-mined Google’s search history, producing some results that are at once interesting, revealing, and even entertaining.

The blog on the fixr.com web site exemplifies how anyone can explore the Google search results that are available to the public. These data can be correlated many ways, and one of these is to determine how many times users of Google in a certain location have entered the same searches for the price of goods. All around the world computer users are turning to Google to ask questions such as, “How much does a bottle of Burgundy cost in Bordeaux?” Google records all these searches in order to improve the efficiency of their search algorithms.

Remember that the folks at fixr.com started off researching the prices of building materials and construction labor costs, but this seems to have taken them to some interesting places. In their blog is found a fascinating map of the world listing the most common searches by country. This is not a precise science, yet it is quite entertaining to speculate on the meaning of the things people in different countries apparently want to purchase.

Looking at the map, a couple of geographically close paradoxes stand out. In two nearby Caribbean island nations, the most searched-for price on one is the cost of a wedding, while on the other the most-searched-for is divorce. In New Zealand the top search among shoppers is the cost of a vasectomy, while in Australia it is the cost of in vitro fertilization.

In Switzerland the most searched-for price is the cost of a Rolex; in neighboring Germany, the price of a BMW. Other European countries from Belgium to Serbia down to Turkey are more concerned with the price of beer. Down in Kuwait the most popular price search is for the price of Lamborghinis.

Internet users in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan are all searching for “What is the price of a camel?” The most popular price searches in many African nations are concerned with daily necessities such as food, cows, and goats.

In South America a more festive mood would appear to be indicated by the fact that Google users in Argentina also search for the price of beer, in Panama the cost to parasail, and in Ecuador the cost of Panama hats. Google users in Chile search for “coke,” but it is not specified what kind.

In Brazil the price more people want to know is the cost of a prostitute, and that is somewhat surprising given that country’s well-known obsession with plastic surgery. It is in Albania and Korea that the most-searched-for is the cost of rhinoplasty. And finally (I know you were waiting for this), the most searched-for price in Mexico by users of Google is the cost of a tummy-tuck.

Charles Miller is a freelance computer consultant, a frequent visitor to San Miguel since 1981 and now practically a full-time resident. He may be contacted at 415 101-8528 or email FAQ8 (at) SMAguru.com.


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