Using "or" in Google Trends
January 3, 2009 6:10 PM   Subscribe

When I use the "or" operator in Google Trends, I get strange results.

According to the Google Trends help section, " a|b " returns the number of searches that contain "a" or "b". So the results for "the|the" ought to be identical to the results for "the". But they are not. Anyone know why the two searches are slightly different?
posted by thrako to Computers & Internet (3 answers total)
As it notes on the bottom of the page, "Please keep in mind that several approximations are used when computing these results."
posted by Flunkie at 6:24 PM on January 3, 2009

Just speculating, but they might be making some adjustment for sites that contain both a AND b. So perhaps "a|a" performs differently from "a" when a occurs more than once in the document.
posted by ubiquity at 6:31 PM on January 3, 2009

"a or b" is true if either a or b is true, or both are true. A Google search of the returns different results than a search of the the. So perhaps Google Trends works the same way.
posted by whiskeyspider at 8:02 PM on January 3, 2009

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