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Saturday is gmail day, Monday is not

By Murray Bourne, 22 Sep 2010

Google's Transparency Report has some interesting real-life data visualizations.

For example, it shows peak gmail activity for the USA is on Saturdays (each of the peaks in the graph is a Saturday) and least activity is on Mondays. Is that consistent with your email activity?


The lowest ever gmail activity (in the range shown) was Friday May 21, 2010. Any ideas why less mails were sent on that day? Or was there a technical glitch on Google's part?

Meanwhile, Singapore's gmail activity is so regular, it looks like a heartbeat. Top days in Singapore are Sundays and troughs occur every Friday.


Google Docs is much less periodic in nature - there is a fairly even spread throughout the days of the week (I expected week days to be higher than weekends) and throughout the year (except of course Christmas / New Year when everything goes quiet on the Web).

What surprised me was the following YouTube graph, showing a 28% drop from the "index" of 87 to the low of this week at 62 (Google have not given absolute numbers, rather they present the data as ranging from 0 to 100).


This is not consistent with Alexa's YouTube traffic statistics, which indicate a slight drop over the last 2 years, but still show YouTube as being either #3 or #4 most popular site on the Web.

One main reason Google share this information is to show when information is being blocked. See how China's traffic is all over the place, demonstrating their ever-increasing (and futile?) attempts to censor the Web. As Google says:

By showing outages, this tool visualizes disruptions in the free flow of information, whether it's a government blocking information or a cable being cut.

For example, the graphs show that YouTube has been inaccessible in Iran since June 12, 2009, following the disputed presidential election.

That link again: Transparency Report

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