The Google guys have been cooking up some very interesting stuff in the labs again. I took a look at the new trending service called Google Correlate today. Not entirely sure of its commercial value as an online free tool but it appears quite nifty.
One has to have a Google login in order to access the following site: http://www.google.com/trends/correlate but once in it is quite easy to navigate. One is able to trend web search data the Google has been collecting for many years. You can draw a line graph and the software will then match that profile to the closest profile it can find. One can also type in a web search string and it then finds the closest trend to that. For example, being in the Insurance industry, I typed in "Motor Vehicle Accidents" and the top 4 returned search trends are "vehicle accidents" (duh), "city planning", "questionnaires" and "battered women". The correlation between MVA's and battered women is strong (0.8744). I guess the big question is why? One is also able to upload a data file of time stamped data in order to find the closest correlation.
I guess one just needs to be mindful of the fact that these trends are not actual events but trends of search patterns. I would be interested in hearing from anybody who has used this technology in order to bring real life business use cases to life.
- Paul Steynberg