Machine Design

A Look at Trends in Fastening Hardware Based on Google Trends

Have you used
Google Trends to uncover any unusual trends or correlations? Please share them with us and your fellow readers by e-mailing [email protected]. Be sure to include Trends in the subject line.

Engineers and designers could draw some interesting conclusions by using Google Trends ( to see how many Google searches were done on the terms “bolts,” “rivets,” and “screws.” For example, rivets don’t seem to get a lot of attention, but the attention these fasteners do get is rock steady compared to that given bolts and screws. Interest in rivets spiked mildly in early 2008. It correlated with the release of a book by a metallurgist theorizing that bad rivets were responsible for the Titanic sinking.

It also seems bolts is a more-popular search term than screws or rivets. There were several peaks in searches on bolt. One in mid-2006, for example, correlates with the tragic Big Dig accident in which bolts gave way, letting a large ceiling panel fall, crushing a car and killing the driver. There also appears to be a slow and steady increase in curiosity about bolts that stretches back to the beginning of 2008.

More on Google Trends
Google Trends, a Web site from Google Labs, the people who developed the Google search engine and other Web-related technology, lets users see how many times over the last five years users have searched for a specific term relative the total number of searches done on Google. It also reveals which countries and cities generated the most searches, Google says the algorithms used to mine the data from its data banks are still in the early stages of development, so there could be some inaccuracies from sampling errors and assumptions.

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