NGrams are beautiful?

December 14, 2011 at 7:07 pm (computers, internet, odds) (, , , , )

Was looking at the website “Information is Beautiful” ( and found an entry about the Google labs NGrams product that shows occurances of pairs of words in the digitised libaries of Google books, some of which go back hundreds of years.  There are some interesting ones – I liked the ‘age old debates’ such as chicken vs egg, region vs science, etc.

So I had a bit of a play myself.  War and peace was interesting – some very clear peaks in the early 20th Century as you’d expect.  Eventually I started on some more odd ball ones, including Google vs Microsoft.  Well that yielded a surprise …

Don’t know if you can see that … but just what is that peak around 1900 for Microsoft?

Well, looks like it must just be a mishap in the Google scanning of books … top of the list of books returned from searching for Microsoft from 1880 to 1950 is the following:

The corporate software guide 1938 – Snippet view

Microsoft FORTRAN also has a high degree of Xenix source-level compatibility, a comprehensive set of utilities, and direct interlanguage calling with Microsoft C, Pascal, and Macro Assembler routines.

So there.  Writing about Xenix, Microsoft C and Pascal in 1938 … so that’s where Alan Turin got all those ideas from!

But on further investigation, it appears there are even earlier examples (obviously very hushed up, but presumably can be released now)

Principles of Food, Beverage, and Labor Cost Controls Using Microsoft Excel for Windows

No cover image Paul R. Dittmer – 1920 – 256 pages – No preview

So now we all know.




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