I came across this interesting talk on TED today. Some Harvard and Google researchers used the data from Google Books to pull out 500 million words from 5 million books across the centuries, created an online interactive tool. Using this tool, you could take a glance of the trend of human culture history. They gave some really interesting examples with wise interpretations in this talk.
I love the idea of being able to grasp the trend of certain topic quickly. This inspiring me of making similar application using data from different area. For example, if data is pulled out from major social media, we probably could see Steven Jobs appeared with higher frequency among Oct. 5th, 2011, with a positive correlation of appearance of iPhone 4S. If data is pulled out from some major forum and blogs of interaction design, trends of using/referring of certain usability methods could be gained.