Regular readers will recall The Ranger’s sensitive analysis of the thorny question of whether Rutland or the Isle of Wight was the smallest county in England. His conclusion, if you’ve forgotten, was that it was hard to tell, and probably didn’t matter anyway. Recently, another perspective on this question has come to light – and once more tidal forces of a kind seem to play a part.
Google Trends is a website that “provides insights into broad search patterns”. What’s more it’s got data going back years: and above, one can see the relative importance to Google users of the county of Rutland (in red) and the Isle of Wight (in blue). Intriguingly, it seems as though the Island has a very seasonal search pattern. Perhaps its strong tourist economy plays a part as the summer seems to be the peak time, and there’s certainly a big spike round about June for the Isle of Wight Festival each year. But poor old Rutland can only equal the Island when the ‘tide of tourists’ is right out, round about Christmastime. And if you fiddle with the figures (go to Google and try it if you like, it’s quite easy) you can exclude America and thus the majority of the searches for Rutland which refer to 18 synonymous places in the USA. When you do that Rutland can’t even register a quarter of the web traffic of the Island. So, which is ‘bigger’ now, eh?