Micro Persuasion, Google Trends, Crafty Google!!!!

The newest innovation from Google, our earstwhile ally, is Google Trends. This new web application allows you to see trends in google searches, along with any relevant news articles that may account for peaks in the search performance. At first blush, this may not seem very important, but for a site like Micro Persuasion that is dedicated to Web2.0’s impact on marketing and sales, it’s imperative. As you can see, he’s come up with some pretty interesting results.

There’s also no telling what else could be gleaned from this trend-pattern information, at least in terms of sociological data. It helps get a sense of what people are thinking as opposed to what the media tells us. Further, since the data on searches is cross-referenced with news references on the same subject, you can get a sense of what is and what is not actually driving the media and the people together.

My one complaint about Google Trends is that there are no numbers. Sure, we can see a graph, but what does a graph really mean without the correlating numbers to give us a sense of scale? The breakdown of results by major cities is interesting, but if you read into it, the graph means something much different than it appears at first blush: the data is normalized to provide a proportional representation of the Google searches for a given topic in relation to all searches in that city.

Nit-picky, I know, but when you’re talking about charts and graphs that will inevitably be used to bash people over the head, it would be nice if at least we had an accurate picture of the object used for bludgeoning.

Why did Google develop this? Well, they’re always innovating something new. However, there is one other possible explaination, which if true means Google is indeed the crafty company they’ve always been. The Federal Government demanded that they provide information very nearly like the information you find in these charts. They were perhaps looking for more data than this, but thier explaination was that they were trying to gauge the effectiveness of thier anti-kiddie porn efforts. Well, Google managed to deliver in what I view as an acceptable way without violating anyone’s personal freedom or privacy. Good work, Google!

And the results?? Well, if you keep kiddie porn in the news, you keep it out of the search engines, that’s for sure!

By Tommy Belknap

Owner, developer, editor of DragonFlyEye.Net, Tom Belknap is also a freelance journalist for The 585 lifestyle magazine. He lives in the Rochester area with his wife and son.