One Graham's View

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Google: God and Sex? Money and Jesus?

If you haven’t figured it out yet, the folks at
Google
are Never happy to sit still, not even for a minute.

I just read a Houston Chronicle
article
detailing one of the latest free tools Google is offering.

Google Trends
is a neat little gizmo that lets you see what terms, by city, what other people are Googling.

The Chronicle article reports:

“For example, a search on Monday of Cruise, Aniston, Pitt, Jolie and Cage turned up a graph charting the movie stars' Google traffic since 2004. You'll also get a list of cities with the most searches on the actors. Orlando, it would seem, has the greatest number of Googles for these stars — and the favorite is Aniston. New York City was more interested in Cage, and Atlanta searchers had their eyes on Pitt.”


This tool joins the ranks of Google’s Zeitgeist, but lets the user enter the search terms they want to see trends for, as opposed to Zeitgeist’s Google-generated list reporting the hot search terms.

You can’t search by city, but you can Google terms you might think people of a certain geographic area might be interested in. To illustrate, the Chronicle article also showed:

topics you'd think Houstonians may be interested in showed Houston ranks No. 1 for searches on Yao Ming, Ken Lay, Andrea Yates, rapper Paul Wall and oil.
“St. Louis tops searches for God and sex, and Salt Lake City takes top honors in the search for money and Jesus.”

God and sex? Money and Jesus? Interesting pairings in the Gateway City and the Land of the Mormons.

I played around with the site a little myself. When I searched the terms “blindness” then “disability,” most of the top ten list were cities outside of the U.S., predominantly in Canada and Australia. I also entered the name “Hillary Duff,” which the Mrs. and I had discussed earlier after the young, actress with Houston roots was on a national talk show. Out of the top ten cities that generated searches for her, there was only one U.S. city among them, which was her hometown Houston at #10. The list was as follows:

1. Caracas, Venezuela
2. Perth, Australia
3. Auckland, New Zealand
4. Brisbane, Australia
5. Melbourne, Australia
6. Sydney, Australia
7. Ottawa, Canada
8. Toronto, Canada
9. Montreal, Canada
10. Houston, TX, USA

Carracas, Venezuela? Wow! I never would have guessed that Hillary was such a popular hottie down in South America. And, what’s up with so many Aussies Googling her?

Okay, I’ll get serious again. There is another tool Google has rolled out, called
http://www.google.com/analytics/>Google Analytics.
This one is a practical tool that, while some report being slow and bloated, should be of interest to web masters. It is a web application that tracks traffic to your web site and analyzes the information for patterns and trends.

According to the official web site:
“Google Analytics tells you everything you want to know about how your visitors found you and how they interact with your site. You'll be able to focus your marketing resources on campaigns and initiatives that deliver ROI, and improve your site to convert more visitors. “

I don’t see this one to be as much of a fun time-waster that Google Trends can be, but I guess I’ll let Google off the hook as they are offering tools that let web masters operate more effectively.

I hope I made this report of today’s tech news a little entertaining.

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