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Sparkline > Steve Jobs > Andy Warhol in Google results

Sparkline appearances in Google results

A few years ago I made prankish comparisons of Google results
for sparkline (a statistical graphic) with Andy Warhol (an artist).
Andy Warhol and sparkline ran about even.

Now, below are the Google results from searches today 2011 July 11, 2:10pm EDT:

Number of Google search results:

sparkline            74,300,000

Steve Jobs         74,000,000

Andy Warhol   25,900,000

From their beginning around 1996, I wanted sparklines to be open source and in the
public domain. My benefit and great joy is to see sparklines widely used.

The Andy Warhol surge was partly facilitated by Google's introduction
of sparklines into their API data products in 2007.

And the recent surge was largely produced by the 2009 introduction
of sparklines into Microsoft's Excel 2010. I am grateful for that. Sparklines
also now appear in Mac Excel 2011:

-- Edward Tufte

Another way to calculate search results

I think you're selling sparklines short ;-)

The Steve Jobs search should be enclosed in quotes to exclude spurious Steve AND Jobs results. Similarly, Andy Warhol.

The revised results are:

sparkline 74,600,000

"Steve Jobs" 54,300,000

"Andy Warhol" 24,400,000

(2:50am GMT, July 12, 2011)

ET comment: the Google results numbers jump around a lot for all kinds of mysterious
reasons (different Google servers? time of day? initial caps vs. lowercase in names?
Google tailoring search result to user profiles?).

-- Chris Pudney (email)

Sparktweets on Twitter

"Sparktweets" on Twitter as happily described by Jason Kottke at

Skepticism about sparktweets from Than Tibbets at

Than Tibbets rightly criticizes the Wall Street Journal sparktweets, but perhaps some sparktweets can be rescued.

My view: if you're doing Twitter, then sparktweets is about all you can do in regard to data graphics. So now and then a sparktweet will be better than nothing, but that's all it's better than (which is a short summary of Twitter in general, although is it amazing what now and then can be done in one 140-character sentence). Sparktweets are awfully low resolution and easily prone to data distortion. The solution: every sparktweet should be accompanied by the beginning and the ending number in the time sequence (which burns up 6 to 8 characters toward the 140 maximum, but with a great increase in data-presentation integrity). Sparktweets don't measure up to real sparklines, however.

A few of the examples shown by Jason Kottke have decent resolution. For example, this clever baseball win/loss summary by Stu Spivack (which alas has to fold the last 7 games onto the third and fourth lines):

-- Edward Tufte

Threads relevant to analytic design:

Seeing Around: New ET essay published

Threads relevant to sparklines:
Narrative sparklines should replace one-at-time instantaneous performance readings.
A sparkline is a small intense, simple, word-sized graphic with typographic resolution. Sparklines mean that graphics are no longer cartoonish special occasions with captions and boxes, but rather sparkline graphic can be everywhere a word or number can be: embedded in a sentence, table, headline, map, spreadsheet, graphic. From Edward Tufte's book Beautiful Evidence.
Open-source and proprietary computer codes for sparklines are nowwidely available. This thread reviews a few of the many possibilities.

Sports data (along with financial and medical data) are an obvious and natural application of sparklines.
An early effort to set sparkline code standards, an effort which was soon overwhelmed by all the different codings.

Threads relevant to statistical graphics:

Sports data (along with financial and medical data) are an obvious and natural application of sparklines.