Strawberry Fields Forever


This Rhythm of Food was developed by Google News Lab and Thruth & Beauty as a tool that allows users to explore food trends. The vizualization offers insight into how food trends evolve over months and years, highlighting particularly interesting trends.

The Data


Food trends were infered from 12 years, 2004-2016, of US Google Trends Score, which is a metric developed by google which normalizes search volume.

How Trends data is adjusted

Trends adjusts seach data to make comparison between terms easier.

Search results are proportionate to the time and location of a query:
  • Each data point is divided by the total searches of the geography and time range it represents, to compare relative popularity. Otherwise places with the most search volume would always be ranked highest.
  • The resulting numbers are then scaled on a range of 0 to 100 based on a topic’s proportion to all searches on all topics.
  • Different regions that show the same number of searches for a term will not always have the same total search volumes.

How the plots were built

As seen in the animation above, the plots are very dense with data.

  • Years are coded with colors.
  • Months are coded with angles
  • Trend Score (0-100) is coded by the distance from the center


The focus on visualization is on highlighting seasonal and yearly trends. Annotations on the plots offer hypothesis to justify certain pronounced patterns and it is possible to slice the data by year in a separate window.

Sharing Insights


Google has produced many other visualizations of it's search trends such as Google Trends Explore but none of them has the same compeling use of interactive visualizations or sharing features. It only takes a few clicks to share insights on Twitter, Facebook or to generate the image above.

Great for Seasonal Comparison


The visualization style makes it very easy to spot regular seasonal trends across years.

Bad for Yearly Comparisons


The use of color to display a variable with 12 categories, and the color choice, makes it hard to spot non-obvious yearly trends.

Colorblind Friendliness

Normal Vision

Tritanopia Vision

For people with normal vision it is not easy to distinguish the yearly trends in detail because of the color choice. The task becomes substantially harder for some types of colorblindness.

However, because of the good use of shades, it is still possible to distinguish the general yearly trends.

How reliable is the data?

Google does not provide detailed information about what goes into the normalization of the Google Trends. Therefore, it is difficult to interpret discrepancies between the inferences from the Trends and insights from other data sources.

For example, the carrot consumption trends infered from the Rhythm of Food and the USA are conflicting.


carrots usda


Author: Pedro Borges

Class: CS424 - Data Visualization