Google Trends is an amazing tool that can shed light on important historical trends relating to politics, religion, and society as a whole. It can also be used to see whether 'genes' has ever been a more popular search term than 'cheese'.
Looking across the whole corpus of Google Trends data (2004–present) it reveals — in the UK at least — that 'genes' came tantalisingly close to overtaking 'cheese' in popularity in 2007:
But wait! If we zoom in to that early part of 2007 we see that for a glorious week at the start of February that 'genes' was indeed a more popular search term than 'cheese'!
British genes for British people?
This historic victory for genetics seems to be a British phenomenon. Running the same search in other countries, or using the 'worldwide' dataset, doesn't reveal the same pattern. Here is what the genes vs cheese fight looks like in America:
I have described an important historic event but I am at a loss to explain why this trend emerged. The trend starts on January 30th 2007…I have searched Google for genes-related news around this time but nothing notable crops up. Any ideas?