How to explore the history of word usage using Google Books

Jim Barlow
3 min readMay 18, 2020

Analyse the contents of over 25 million books in a matter of seconds

When I was at college, finding specific information involved a pretty low-tech and inefficient process. You had to scan through book titles on a standalone computer (from my recollection you could at least search by keywords) to find the correct lookup code, then walk to the correct section of the library to physically track down the book. You then had to decide which particular words you were looking for and flick through the index to find pages where specific…