Blown To Bits

Fun With Google Insights

Saturday, August 16th, 2008 by Harry Lewis

In Blown to Bits, we stress that search is a new form of power. You have to hand it to Google; they recognize that sharing the power is good for everyone. Google Insights ( empower everyone to find out who is looking for what.

The site pitches itself as a set of business tools — figure out who your customers are, predict demand, etc. But you can use it for anything. For example, where are people most interested in “anthrax”? Iraq. (Locations are determined by IP addresses; there’s no way to know who’s actually doing the searching. The people in Iraq who are interested in “anthrax” could well be Americans.) How about “Nuclear bomb”? Pakistan, though the U.S. is right behind, and interest everywhere is waning. (The data go back to 2004, but you can choose a different time frame.) The next two lovely examples are courtesy of Ethan Zuckerman. “Email Extractor Lite 1.4” — a tool for extracting email addresses from large quantities of text — has most interest in the west African countries of Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso. You don’t suppose people there want to use it to produce spam, do you? And “keygen” — a source of digital keys for unlocking pirated software — is of most interest in Cambodia, Russia, and Belarus.

Have fun. Your level of worldly experience — and perhaps the sickness of your mind — are the only limits to what you can learn about the interests of our fellow members of the human race.

One Response to “Fun With Google Insights”

  1. Arthone Says:

    The quality of the info is what keeps me on this site, thanks!