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July 09, 2008

How Silicon Valley Heavy Are Web 2.0 Consumers?

Last week, I used Google Trends to show that some Web services have largely fallen out of favor, leading to fewer searches over time. The same database also offers some hints as to where people are geographically when searching for these terms, and unsurprisingly, the San Francisco Bay Area is disproportionally weighted for many technology terms and company names. It's sometimes said that in order to reach the mainstream, Web and software companies need to escape the Silicon Valley bubble, so, according to Google, which ones have jumped?


Click for full-size image.

Let's take a look at a sampling, by no means the superset of Web 2.0:
AOL:
    #1 City: New York, NY
    #1 Bay Area: None in the Top Ten
CNet:
    #1 City: Singapore
    #1 Bay Area: Pleasanton, CA at #2 overall
Digg:
    #1 City: San Francisco, CA
eBay:
    #1 City: Birmingham, UK
    #1 Bay Area: None in the Top Ten
Facebook:
    #1 City: Hailfax, Canada
    #1 Bay Area: None in the Top Ten
Feedburner:
    #1 City: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    #1 Bay Area: San Francisco, CA at #2 overall
Firefox:
    #1 City: Dortmund, Germany
    #1 Bay Area: San Francisco, CA at #5 overall
Flickr:
    #1 City: Pleasanton, CA

FriendFeed:
    #1 City: San Francisco, CA
GigaOM:
    #1 City: San Francisco, CA
Google:
    #1 City: Manchester, UK
    #1 Bay Area: San Francisco, CA at #8 overall
iTunes:
    #1 City: San Francisco, CA
LinkedIn :
    #1 City: San Jose, CA

Mashable:
    #1 City: San Francisco, CA
Microsoft:
    #1 City: Singapore
    #1 Bay Area: San Francisco, CA at #8 overall
MySpace:
    #1 City: Irvine, CA
    #1 Bay Area: None in the Top Ten
Reddit:
    #1 City: Austin, TX
    #1 Bay Area: San Francisco, CA at #2 overall
Seesmic:
    #1 City: Paris, France
    #1 Bay Area: San Francisco, CA at #2 overall
Scoble:
    #1 City: Redmond, WA
    #1 Bay Area: Santa Clara, CA at #2 overall
Slashdot:
    #1 City: Austin, TX
    #1 Bay Area: San Francisco, CA at #4 overall
StumbleUpon:
    #1 City: Dublin, Ireland
    #1 Bay Area: San Francisco, CA at #2 overall
TechCrunch:
    #1 City: Santa Clara, CA
Techmeme:
    #1 City: San Francisco, CA
Technorati:
    #1 City: Singapore
    #1 Bay Area: San Francisco, CA at #3 overall
Twitter:
    #1 City: Meguro, Japan
    #1 Bay Area: San Francisco, CA at #3 overall
Yahoo!:
    #1 City: Bogota, Colombia
    #1 Bay Area: San Francisco, CA at #9 overall
YouTube:
    #1 City: Lima, Peru
    #1 Bay Area: None in the Top Ten
Zillow:
    #1 City: Renton, WA
    #1 Bay Area: Pleasanton, CA at #6 overall
For just about every Web or tech topic, the city of San Francisco, or the San Francisco Bay Area, is represented at a much higher level than any other region, when population is considered. As Google's FAQ states, "for those top cities, Google Trends calculates the ratio of searches for your term coming from each city divided by total Google searches coming from the same city." It's no surprise that people in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley are looking for Web details more frequently than anywhere else.

What is also interesting is those companies or technologies that broke out of the Silicon Valley bubble. AOL, eBay, Facebook, MySpace and Yahoo! are not big surprises. In fact, the bigger the name, the more likely they are to get a higher share of searches from somewhere else. As many are eager to see what it takes for a product to break through to "the mainstream" and get out of the geek overload common here, Google Trends can give a little insight as to whether a service has done it.

I didn't name the hundreds and hundreds of Web 2.0 services and companies out there, but Google Trends data is open to all, so run the data yourself at http://google.com/trends and add to the list in the comments.

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