Venture capital, government funding and scientific interest in quantum computing has ballooned over the last year, but it is a bit harder to track whether the technology has filtered into mainstream society. A look at Google Trends suggests that while there’s no exponential blast in sudden attention in quantum computing, nor is it yet prepared to out-trend the latest Kardashian exploits, there is a gradual upswing, with several peaks suggesting big news in the field can ripple across the zeitgeist.
Over the last year, there have been several jumps in searches for “quantum computer” and “quantum computing,” peaking in winter, early spring. Google makes it hard to pinpoint exactly what prompted those searches, but there were several big news events at that time, including the Chinese quantum supremacy and news of IonQ becoming a publicly traded company through a special purpose acquisition company.
And you can see that gradual trend over the last few years.
Google also indicates there are some breakthrough trends. One of the names that stands out is Cambridge Quantum Computing, certainly one of the leaders in raising awareness about quantum computing and leading the charge to adopt the technology.
Interestingly, Cloud-based Quantum Computing is a hot topic. The inclusion of “hacker” on the list could signal some of the apprehension behind quantum’s cybersecurity threats, but that’s just a guess.
It’s also interesting where those searches originate.
Globally, Ethiopia tops the list with China close behind.
We can also use Google Trends to see hot spots of interest in the U.S.
In the U.S. Washington D.C. is the capital of quantum computing searches, which may reflect the national security implications of quantum. Washington, New York, California and Pennsylvania round out that list.
Although, to be honest, all those quantum computing searches from Pennsylvania are probably me trying to keep up with you.
Trapped Ion The Kim Kardashian of Quantum?
For fun, here’s a look at how the various modalities are scoring in Google Trends over the last few years — trapped ion (in blue), superconducting quantum (in red) and photonic (in yellow). Probably not a good idea to declare trapped ion the supreme approach right now, but the searches do seem to suggest that people are going deep into the topic of quantum computing.