Indonesia Googles "Flat Earth" The Most
The chart depicts topical interest within Google Searches for the Term "Flat Earth" from April 8th, 2012 to April 3rd, 2017 (today). The horizontal x axis is the time line and the vertical y axis represents a scale between 0-100 where zero is no searches and 100 is peak searches...
In other words, its greatest height represents the most it was ever searched, and 50% represents half of the amount of its peak. In this manner it is an internally gauged interest level, and thus relative, and not pegged to a specific number of searches, beyond less than one percent meaning zero.
Specifically, Google states, "Numbers represent search interest relative to the highest point on the chart for the given region and time. A Value of 100 is the peak popularity for the term. A value of 50 means that the term is half as popular. Likewise a score of 0 means the term was less than 1% as popular as the peak."
Flat Earth as a Worldwide search terms over the last 5 years peaked on the week of 2/19/2017-2/25/2017, which was just after Kyrie Irving spoke his FE beliefs on the Road Trippin Broadcast at 30,000 ft on 2/17/2017. However, the most significant gain in relative interest around Flat Earth occurred a little over a year prior on January 24th, 2016, when B.O.B. began tweeting about Flat Earth on Twitter, which caused the search term to jump from a relative 16% the previous week to 88% the following week.
Interestingly, although Irving's announcement actually caused a 70% jump from the previous week in terms of people searching flat earth, (from 30% to 100%) it actually gained 2% less in search frequency when compared to B.O.B.'s 72% spike from its previous week.
The week after B.O.B. caused Flat Earth to reach an 88% interest level, the search term dipped down to 40%, hitting a bottom of 15% in mid March, and as you'll see in the chart above (or follow link here) over the next 11 months, interest in searching "Flat Earth" crept upward from the new bottom of 15%, on a long and steady ascent, to 33% the week before Kyrie's podcast, after which "Flat Earth" hit its second ceiling (what Google terms 100%, February 19th-25, 2017).
Interestingly, from April 8th, 2012 until April 8th, 2015, the search term "Flat Earth" only climbed one percentile (specifically from 3%-4%), but relative to how much popularity occurred when Kyrie went flat, (basically every news channel and sports announcer discussed it), that is actually rather healthy growth. One might have surmised that three year time frame would constitute less than 1% of overall interest, and be negligible.
To draw a comparison to the fall off of the interest level in the subject matter after each of its two major spikes we can note that five weeks after B.O.B.'s battle with Neil Tyson Flat Earth was back down from its first ceiling of 88% to a lowly 17%, that's a 71% drop. But five weeks after Kyrie Irving's podcast hit 100% Flat Earth still rested at 45%, which is only a 55% drop. That indicates steady growth, and a rising "bottom" following interest levels passes through major spikes. Specifically, Kyrie's interest level "fall off" was 16% less than B.O.B.'s, one year later. These higher bottoms indicate steady growth.
Since its all time high or "second ceiling" in February of this year, the search term "Flat Earth" dipped down to 66% interest the week of 3/19/17-3/25/17, and now it is down to 45% on this week of 4/2/17-4/8/17, just five weeks out from its all time high. As Google stated above, 50% means the term is "half as popular" as its peak, which means after only gaining 1% over 3 years (April of 2012 through 2015) "Flat Earth" as a Worldwide Google search term, over the last two years, between April of 2015 (4%) to April of 2017 (45%), has gained a whopping 41%!
Of topical interest may be that the top eight countries with the most searches for "Flat Earth" over the last five years are as follows: Indonesia (100), Canada (35), New Zealand (35), United States (34), Australia (34), South Africa (31), United Kingdom (26), and Philippines (17). Now flat-earthers know which countries to develop translations for, hint: Auto-translate Indonesian. The top eight cities are: Makassar (100), Bandung (96) Surabaya (75) Jakarta (46) Medan (36) Brisbane (23) Sydney (20) and Dallas (19). The U.S.A. barely made the list.
Just for fun, I opened up the timeline to as far back as Google would give results for, which was 2005, this revealed obviously the same two spikes from B.O.B. and Kyrie, but back in 2008 there was a bump up to 20% for a book called Flat Earth News, by an author named Nick Davies, which essentially equated Flat Earth thinking with the height of idiocy. This point is to underscore that searches for Flat Earth don't necessarily equate to either Flat Earth believers or disbelievers, but simply eyeballs looking into it. However, it does present world wide relative interest levels for the specified search terms. Worth noting, the extended timeline of a dozen years places the current interest level at 77% (in relation to peak interest) for this current month of April, 2017.
With respect to the five year range, which is the metric used for all but the one just mentioned, as of today, the search term, "Flat Earth" rests only 5% below half of peak interest, which is a colossal 45%. (Keep in mind peak interest equates to however many times "Flat Earth" was queried worldwide in the wake of Irving's podcast. To put this last point in perspective just one youtube channel, called Beyond Science, has over 300,000 views for one video covering the subject, and there are dozens of other channels, seemingly more pro flat earth videos with less views, and less flat-stupid videos with vastly more views, but even Bill Maher was talking about Kyrie, who despite his incredulity towards Irving's beliefs, doesn't want to go to Mars either.
"I can't stand this talk about Mars and the Moon
If Bill Maher can't stand space talk, it may not be long till he creates his own spike on this growing Flat Earth trend.