I have just discovered Google Trends. Google Trends analyzes a portion of Google web searches to compute how many searches have been done for the terms you enter relative to the total number of searches done on Google over time. It then shows you a graph with the results. It does not show you any absolute figures - just the trend. It also shows you the countries and cities from which the searches originate.
So I thought I'd try this on knowledge management. It is interesting to see that the trend is actually downwards but maybe more interesting to see the geographic origin of the searches: not Europe or the US but Malaysia, India, Indonesia, Singapore - the emerging economies - not the developed ones.
This mirrors to some degree the people who sign up as members of my community. I have a page of knowledge cities that shows the cities around the globe where I have the most members. Not too surprising to find London, Sydney and New York top - Mumbai, Kuala Lumpur, Bangalore and New Delhi are high on the list too!
I am hesitant to read too much into this but at a surface level it would indicate that there is more interest in leveraging knowledge in the developing world than the developed!
As for the downward trend, I suspect this has more to do with the evolution of KM rather than any lack of interest in the subject. I rarely search for the term 'knowledge management' these days - as I get such a broad range of results. I am much more likely to search for a specific KM topic of interest. This might also explain the search results from the developing countries where knowledge management is less well developed and hence newcomers are starting out with a broad search on the topic.