It's the Austrians, Stupid!

A popular stereotype in the UK about Germans is that we're all David Hasselhoff fans. Let's subject this hypothesis to an empirical test and have a look at Google Trends' country ranking for the search term "david hasselhoff".

A-ha! Relative to all searches from the countries in question, Germany is only no. 10 when it comes to searches for The Hoff. You might be forgiven your mistake, however, as Austrians speak a language related to German proper. Special attention should be directed towards country no.9 on the list.

I rest my case.


pj said...

I shouldn't crow too much - if you look at the last few years you see that non-English speaking countries dominate, and Germany scores pretty high (but not as highly as many other European countries) - e.g. see the last 12 months.

So I wonder whether there are some legacy effects from differential national google usage over time.

And, if one happened to know the name of any Hasselhoff albums one might find some disappointing results down that road.

LemmusLemmus said...

1. The stereotype is older than 12 months.

2. I note that you know the title of a David Hasselhoff album.

3. The numbers for that search term are so low that in multiple months the graph shows zero traffic and Google can only come up with two cities on their list.

Back to you.

pj said...

1. And if you look at previous years (the album is from 1989) Germany is certainly holding its own in the charts

2. Actually I had to look it up

3. Maybe true - but as I'm sure you are aware the stereotype is that Germans like David Hasselhoff's music, but, to be fair, if I pick another Hasselhoff album (1997) the Germans don't even get a look in - but perhaps the telling statistics are in the chart placings of his singles - it seems that in the late '80s, early 2000s he was popular in Germany and Switzerland (Austria isn't mentioned but that doesn't tell us much) but that from the late '90s he seems to have made a dent in English speaking countries. Now I'm sure the latter would claim that this is all due to 'irony' but I shall refrain from speculating.

4. Looking at the per year data the UK comes above Germany 2004(earliest available)-2006 but Germany triumphs 2007-2009 (2004;2007-2009 Austria comes top).

5. I'm not sure when google became the top English language search engine - probably 1998/1999 (from my recollection) but I don't know about the history of German language search engines - certainly it appears as if google.de didn't come into existence until 2000. Any recollection as to the time frame? It was very quick for everyone switching to google as I recall (was there even a segregation into different language based search engines in the late '90s?)

6. He brought down the Berlin wall and ended the Cold War - how dare you question the totemic nature of 'the Hoff' for Germany!

LemmusLemmus said...

1. No doubt he had a number one hit in 1989 (though it was news to me the album was also no. 1), but the stereotype, as I know it, is that Germans are into The Hoff (present tense). The first time I heard that, I had already forgotten about the bloke.

2. Fair enough.

3. Good point about the music. German Wikipedia has the lowdown on Austrian chart positions.

5. I'm pretty sure I used Google before there was a specifically German page (1999?).

6. I've just written to my local MP requesting that Berlin be renamed Hoff City.

7. What we're really into is this song.