Google Trends: Can Lyft Catch Uber in South Bend in Search?

By Dakota Connell-Ledwon • February 1st, 2017

You’ve probably used Uber, the ride-sharing app that lets you order a car to pick you up at your exact location. But there’s a new competitor in town–Lyft expanded its operations to South Bend last Thursday.

In a comparison of Google searches using Google Trends, Uber remained dominant after Lyft’s launch.

The graph shows that Google searches for Lyft increased after its launch at noon on Jan. 26–perhaps because the company advertised a $5 coupon promotion for riders beforehand–and searches for Uber were still higher but comparable at the time.

Over the weekend, thousands of protestors gathered at JFK airport to oppose President Trump’s executive order banning refugees and travelers from seven largely Muslim countries. While taxis joined the protest by striking and refusing to pick up passengers from JFK, Uber continued service–and even turned off surge pricing.

Lyft continued to operate as well, but kept surge pricing on and pledged $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union. Uber’s actions spawned a boycott of the company around the country. But as the Lyft trend generally follows the same pattern as the Uber trend in the graph, it’s a small possibility that the boycott has affected Uber’s business in South Bend.

Moving into the weekend, the gap between searches for the two companies widened, with Uber peaking early in the morning on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Lyft experienced similar but much smaller peaks.

A city with multiple universities such as the University of Notre Dame and Indiana University South Bend is rich ground for ride-sharing companies. Freshman at the University of Notre Dame are prohibited from having a car on campus during their first semester. Students without cars have utilized Uber or taxi companies to get around in the past.

Google Trends will be useful in following interest in Lyft over the coming weeks–will it continue rising in popularity and cut into Uber’s ride-sharing monopoly on South Bend? Or will it fail to take off?

Google Trends: Searches for Women’s March vs. March for Life

By Teagan Dillon • January 31st, 2017

On Jan. 27, Washington, D.C., saw its third major event of the past week as people gathered for the 43rd annual March for Life to protest abortion.

But less than a week earlier, on Jan. 21, some 500,000 people gathered in the same place — and at locations all over the country — for the first annual Women’s March to protest for the protection of a woman’s right to choose, among other things.

While the Women’s March was not centered on abortion, it did take a stance in favor of abortion rights. The Women’s March released a policy document stating that the march supported “open access to safe, legal, affordable abortion and birth control for all people.” One day after the inauguration of Donald Trump, it drew massive crowds not only to the nation’s capital but also to cities around the world.

Here’s a comparison of the amount of Google searches globally in the past 10 days for both the Women’s March and the March for Life. Both peaked on their respective march days, but the Women’s March generated nearly four times as many searches on its protest day than the March for Life did.

In addition, the Women’s March showed continued interest in the days following the protest. Since it was the first of its kind, it most likely drew questions about its crowd size, platform and mission. Also happening to fall on President Trump’s first day in office, it was a rally against his past statements and actions that many deemed misogynistic and reprehensible.

On the other hand, in its 43rd year, the March for Life has become a more established, well-known protest with imaginably fewer questions surrounding its premise. This year, however, Vice President Mike Pence became the first vice president to speak at the rally.

While the Women’s March did take a pro-abortion stance, its platform included a wide range of social issues, such as immigration reform, healthcare reform and LGBTQ rights, that provided pro-life men and women a chance to rally for other issues.

Here’s how the topics fared in Indiana on Google search:

Indiana Ranks Among Top 25 Nationally for Expensive Gasoline

By Mike Reilley • January 6th, 2017

Indiana’s average gas price is $2.36 per gallon, ranking it 22nd out of 50 states for most expensive gas, according to data from the Gas Buddy website.

Timelapse: Satellite Images Show South Bend Growth Since 1984

By Mike Reilley • January 5th, 2017

This Google Earth Engine timelapse tool shows the expansion of South Bend over the past 30 years. The site uses NASA satellite images to show progressive change. [Hit the play button in the lower left to animate it]

Google Trends: Trump and Pence Win the Election … and Search, Too

By Mike Reilley • January 5th, 2017

If Google searches are any indication, it’s no surprise that Indiana Governor Mike Pence is headed to Washington, D.C., as vice president.

Pence easily outdistanced Democratic VP candidate Tim Kaine in Google searches over the past year, both nationally and in Indiana, according to analysis of Google search data.

The charts below illustrate a “normalization” of searches for Pence, which peaked last summer with his selection by Donald Trump as running mate. He also saw considerable peaks during the VP debate and, of course, Election Day and its aftermath.

Google Searches for Mike Pence and Tim Kaine in the U.S. (past year)

Google Searches in Indiana for Mike Pence and Tim Kaine (past year)

Google Searches for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the U.S. (past year)

Census: Recession Recovery, Jobs Stunt Indiana’s Population Growth

By Mike Reilley • January 5th, 2017

Indiana’s population grew by an estimated 20,285 residents in 2015, for a 0.3 percent increase that boosted its population to an estimated 6.6 million people statewide, according to Census Bureau numbers.

But the state’s population is growing at about half the rate it did during the 1990s, continuing a trend that began during the 2007 recession, statistics show. Some experts say the state isn’t adding jobs fast enough since the recession.

Indiana’s population mirrors that of some its border states. But one, Illinois, has begun losing population because of jobs, crime, high taxation and other cost-of-living factors.

360 Video: South Bend Cubs Who Make the Majors Will Have New Digs

By Mike Reilley • January 1st, 2017

Wrigley Field 360 NW corner Addison and Clark – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

360-degree video outside Wrigley Field in early January. (To view on mobile, download the Ricoh Theta S app)

CHICAGO — South Bend Cubs who make it to the majors will see a whole new look to the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field.

A five-year overhaul of the iconic ballpark is entering its fourth year and has reached its busiest period, just two months after the Cubs won their first World Series in 108 years.

The Cubs’ home opener against the Dodgers is April 10, just more than three months away. But today there’s no grass on the field inside the park, only heavy construction equipment, dirt and building materials.

360 photo outside of Wrigley Field. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Ballpark changes

Seats behind home plate have been removed as crews work on the 1914 Club, a 600-seat bar being built underneath home plate that’s slated to open in early 2018. The bullpens down the left- and right-field lines are being moved under the bleachers, and seating will be added where the old bullpen locations were.

The green chain-link fence along the south side of Wrigley is being replaced with the ornate metal barriers already added to the west side of the ballpark. The visitor’s dugout and clubhouse — considered the worst in Major League Baseball — are being expanded and updated. The Cubs’ clubhouse was updated before last season.

In late 2017 and 2018, work will start on renovations to the suites and press box at Wrigley.

360 photo of residential and retail complex construction. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Retail and residential complex

To the south of the ballpark, across Addison Street, ground is being cleared for a new 30,000 square-foot retail and residential development.

Due to open in 2018 or early 2019, the $140-million complex has attracted several new tenants, including Cinemark Theaters, Shake Shack and Lucky Strike bowling alley. The new complex stretches from the former site of Goose Island brewery on Clark to the former site of the 7/Eleven on the southwest corner of Addison and Sheffield.

Outdoor plaza

The Park at Wrigley Field, a 50,000-square-foot plaza on the west side of the ballpark, along Clark Street, is scheduled to be completed by spring. The plaza will be an office building, where the club will move its business operations in early 2017, as well as a parking garage for staff, coaches and players. Retail and restaurants such as Big Star tacos will anchor the first floor.  

The Park also will have a large outdoor TV screen and grassy plaza to hold events. In the winter, the area will be converted into a temporary ice rink, something the Cubs have done in the past when the space was a parking lot.

Hotel Zachary under construction across from Wrigley Field. #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Hotel Zachary

Across the street from The Park at Wrigley Field, construction crews have begun building the foundation of Hotel Zachary on the west side of Clark Street. The seven-story, 175-room hotel will cover 238,000 square-feet at 3630 N. Clark St., where McDonald’s was previously located.

Hickory Street Capital — the Ricketts family-owned development company behind the project — announced in September that the site will house several new restaurants, including McDonalds, as well as a Wintrust Bank branch.

Wrigley Field before and now

Drag the slider to see what the Wrigley Field location looks like today. Photos courtesy Curtis Waltz, | @wrigleyaeriels