On a journalism mailing list to which I subscribe, the following claim was made recently:
One more thing: the last time I checked, more people used the Yellow Pages as a reference tool than Google.

No contest.

Suffice it to say, I found this claim somewhat unbelievable, since I personally haven’t had a yellow pages book in my home for over ten years now.  I can’t think of anyone else I know who does either.  Last time I used the yellow pages, I was in a hotel room, looking for local pizza delivery.  (That must have been five years ago at least.  These days, I just use the GrubHub app on my smartphone. That way, I don’t even have to take my wallet out of my pocket or talk to anyone on the phone.)

So I decided to check it out.  It’s a claim of fact, so it should be pretty easy to find out, right?

I fired up Google Chrome, and typed “yellow pages statistics” into Google’s search engine, which naturally yielded about 20 million hits.

Some fun facts about the yellow pages:

Considering that Google processes something on the order of two billion searches per day, every day, I’d say the answer is no.  More people use Google these days than use the Yellow Pages.

This is a neat little mash-up.

Say you want to know what people in your geographic area have to say on a particular subject.

It’s trivially easy to find out with this map of tweets by subject.

Or, to be more clear, choose a geographic area using the Google map, and then type in a search term, and it will map out recent tweets that contain your phrase.

Try it out, it’s pretty fun, and could be useful.

EgoAnt Productions: Tweet Map.

So I’m trying to find lists of events relevant to my beat, and I find that just YESTERDAY Google decided to discontinue the public calendar gallery.

So much for that research advantage.

2/5/2009
We’ve removed public calendar search and the public calendar gallery. For details, please see: http://www.google.com/support/calendar/bin/answer.py?answer=139970