Google Trends

How do we use English around the world?

Google Trends is free to use and you don't need a subscription. (Link opens on new page.) Different from analysing spoken English, Trends looks at internet search terms to see how we natives are using the language. I still think it gives a good impression of general usage differences and you can also see how the popularity of a search term changes over time. It's great for comparing words which have the same meaning, like motorbike and motorcycle below. (See Example) You can see that in:
  • A: Motorbike and C: Motorbike, Australia, New Zealand and the UK showed a high regional interest for the search word 'motorbike'.
  • B: Motorcycle and D: Motorcycle, the Philippines and the US are at the top, with the previous countries lower down the list
This implies that the word 'motorbike', used in countries like Australia and the UK is an option, but not exclusive of 'motorcycle', whereas the word 'motorbike' isn't on the high regional interest list for the Philippines and the US, but motorcycle is. So, in the UK, use either word, but in the US use 'motorcycle'.
Example
A: Motorbike
B: Motorcycle
C: Motorbike
D: Motorcycle