Ever wondered what's "popular" among us D&D geeks? How about what was popular? Using Google's new Google Insights Tool, you can mine all kinds of Web 2.0 goodness from their databases. For instance, the above graph shows the "interest level" by netizens over the last five years for 4E D&D (in blue), 3E D&D (in red), 2E D&D (orange), and 1E D&D (in green, absent becuase it's below Google's threshold level). The fully interactive chart is available here. Notice the HUGE spike last summer when 4E was released, and the precipitous drop. Also notice the the trough for 4E interest is about at the same level as 3E was back in 2004. I wonder how well this data tracks with sales of D&D products? I would venture fairly well.
The downside to this data is that, overall, there's a declining interest in D&D in general, across all editions (barring the spike last summer). The upside is that, if you look at the last 60 days, interest in 4E D&D seems to be trending a bit higher which might be promising. OK, so how does interest in D&D track with RPGs in general?