Has the guy on the left been Googling the guy on the right?

Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi

Is Europe Trending Toward 'Grexit'? Ask Google

Mark Gilbert is a Bloomberg View columnist and writes editorials on economics, finance and politics. He was London bureau chief for Bloomberg News and is the author of “Complicit: How Greed and Collusion Made the Credit Crisis Unstoppable.”
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Considering the current impasse between Greece and its lenders, it's no surprise that "Grexit," the made-up word that encapsulates the prospect that Greece might exit the euro, is at a record high, according to Google Trends:

The chart above shows that interest in Grexit (the capital letters refer to various news articles) popped in May 2012, died down for the following two years, then surged in December 2014 as talks with creditors again heated up.   

What is interesting, though, is the breakdown of whose citizens are hammering the word into their keyboards at the fastest pace:

Greeks are five times as interested in, or worried by, the prospect of finding themselves at the euro departure gate as Germans are. An overwhelming majority of Greeks have consistently said in opinion polls that they want to stay in the common currency, suggesting there will be a domestic political backlash if the nation stumbles back to some form of the drachma.  

But at least Germans are paying some attention. By comparison, it seems Britain's neighbors couldn't care less if the U.K. left the European Union, even if searches for the term "Brexit" have surged:

A poll earlier this month by YouGov showed 58 percent of Germans support the U.K. remaining in the EU. But a survey for German broadcaster ZDF said last week that 51 percent of Germans want Greece to leave the euro group.

My take? There may be a certain amount of Grexit schadenfreude from those Googling Teutons. 

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg View's editorial board or Bloomberg LP, its owners and investors.

To contact the author on this story:
Mark Gilbert at magilbert@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor on this story:
Paula Dwyer at pdwyer11@bloomberg.net