Google Books offers an interesting tool called Ngram Viewer where you can enter a search phrase, say William Shakespeare, and it will display a graph showing how that phrase has occurred in books over the years.

The Ngram Viewer also shows how the usage of language and phrases have changed over the years. Google has digitized (using OCR software) more than 15 million books and these graphs are generated using a dataset of more than 500 billion words.

The tools also support operators for advanced for search. For instance, you can say tasty => desert to understand how over the term tasty modifies dessert. It will include phrases like tasty frozen dessert, tasty yet expensive dessert, and all the other instances in which the word tasty is applied to dessert.

Note that the Ngram Viewer is case-sensitive, but Google Books search results are not.