Interesting article at O’Reilly that begins to explore the notion of tag clouds as a device to explore emergent themes in bodies of text as a function of word frequency. I’ve seen this done a few times lately – Bill Gates on Vista, Steve Jobs on iPhone and now Tim O’Reilly on Web 2.0.
As Tim notes, this usage is far from feature-complete at this time. It only does single word frequency and misses phrases, context and subtle meaning. Still, give it six months and someone will have that nut cracked.
In the meantime, it’s at least a fun and popsci-accurate way of looking for themes in text.