Towards correlating search on Google and asking on stack overflow

Chunyang Chen, Zhenchang Xing

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Search engines and Question and Answer (Q&A) sites are the two commonly used ways for developers to seek information on the web. In this paper, we ask whether the questions developers ask on Q&A sites correlate with the information developers search for using search engines. We report on our empirical study to investigate the correlations of the 185 popular technical terms developers search on Google and ask on Stack Overflow using search statistics obtained from Google Trends over a 574-weeks span and question statistics derived from Stack Overflow Data Dump over a 300-weeks span. Our study shows that technical terms searched and asked have strong correlation over time. Search and asking of newer, specific technical terms have stronger correlation, compared with older, general technical terms. We have developed a web interface for accessing our dataset and empirical results available at Inspired by our empirical results, we present future directions that can harness Stack Overflow as sampled data for supporting time-aware search and semantic search.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2016 IEEE 40th Annual Computer Software and Applications Conference, COMPSAC 2016
EditorsSheikh Iqbal Ahamed, Carl K. Chang, William Chu, Ivica Crnkovic, Pao-Ann Hsiung, Gang Huang, Jingwei Yang
Place of PublicationLos Alamitos CA USA
PublisherIEEE, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9781467388450
Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Computer Software and Applications Conference 2016 - Atlanta, United States of America
Duration: 10 Jun 201614 Jun 2016
Conference number: 40th (Proceedings)


ConferenceInternational Computer Software and Applications Conference 2016
Abbreviated titleCOMPSAC 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States of America
Internet address


  • Google Trends
  • Stack Overflow
  • tag
  • technology
  • Trend correlation

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