We all love Google Trends (which by the way is keeping a little more up to date since my last posting), but I'm guessing it's still early adopters tinkering with it and figuring out its uses at the moment.
The New York Times covered Google Trends this week and it's worth a read / tagging it for future reference.
It's the connection to marketing that turns the database of intentions from a curiosity into a real economic phenomenon. For now, Google Trends is still a blunt tool. It shows only graphs, not actual numbers, and its data is always about a month out of date. The company will never fully pull back the curtain, I'm sure, because the data is a valuable competitive tool that helps Google decide which online ads should appear at the top of your computer screen, among other things. .
But Google does plan to keep adding to Trends, and other companies will probably come up with their own versions as well. Already, more than a million analyses are being done some days on Google Trends, said Marissa Mayer, the vice president for search at Google.
When these tools get good enough, you can see how the business of marketing may start to change. As soon as a company begins an advertising campaign, it will be able to get feedback from an enormous online focus group and then tweak its message accordingly.
There's also an amusing anecdote about a mayor of a US city who had to go on the record to explain why his constituents were proportionately more likely to search for "sex" than anyone else in the country.