Googling the World: Global and Regional Information Flows in Google Trends
As people increasingly rely on online information, they conduct many searches about foreign countries for tourism, shopping, news, and entertainment purposes. This study identifies central countries in the international search network using Google Trends data on international searches. It also offers economic, social, and historical explanations for their centrality. Findings show that users often search for information related to countries in their regions. Still, economically leading countries are being searched significantly more worldwide. The flow of people as measured by migration and tourism accounts for the searching of other countries. Finally, several regional centers in Africa, Asia, and the Americas serve as information gateways, connecting more peripheral countries in their regions with former colonial powers in Europe. The diversity of country-related searches and the availability of public data on these searches provide a new way to study global and regional patterns in our online information flows today.
ches provide a new way to study global and regional patterns in our online information flows today.