About this time last night, I was working on a blog post for Search Engine Land about the major search engines and how much they spend lobbying the government. In looking over the numbers, I had decided that my headline was about the enormous jump in how much Google has spent in the past few years … from $260,000 in 2005 to more than $4 million in 2009.
But what percent is that increase??, I wondered. That would be my headline.
I’m adequate at math, not great. I manually counted up by 260,000s … at 520,000, it’s a 100% increase … at 780,000, it’s a 200% increase … etc. I determined that it was about a 1500% increase.
But what if I’m wrong??!!, I thought.
And then an idea came to me: Wolphram Alpha!! The “computation knowledge engine.” It’s like a calculator on steroids. (Note to my son if he’s reading this: It can be used to help with homework, but not to replace you doing the work yourself.)
So, I went over to WA and tried this query: 4,030,000 is what % of 260,000. And would you look at this …
How perfect is that??!! And compare it to the same query on Google:
I appreciated the irony of using some other search tool to find out exactly how much Google has upped its spending on government lobbying. It gave me my headline: Google’s Lobbying Spend Up 1,500% Since 2005.