Jamie's Blog

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Google Search Trends

Last year I turned on Google's search history feature for my account. basically what happens is that Google keeps a record of all searches you do while logged into your account. It also keeps links attached to your search record of any site you went to as a result of the search. This is really useful when you remember finding some site before, but can't remember what you searched for to find it or can't remember which of the results of the search you clicked on.
I've used it multiple times already to find things that I should have bookmarked and didn't. Or to find data that wasn't significant or relevant enough when I first read it, but now has become important. This can really be a time saver.
But other than the above uses, I never really looked at all of the features it offers. It also offers you a look at your search trend and habits, over the last year, week, or month. It offers those trends in easy to see bar graphs like the one below.

What you are seeing is the average number of searches on each day of the week over the last year. as you can see, I seem to have a much higher number of searches on Wednesday. Very few searches on Saturday and Sunday, and a roughly even number of searches for the other weekdays.
I understand why I have low searches on Saturday and Sunday. Most Saturday's I'm either working on something at home(yard work, etc.) that doesn't include using the computer, or I'm not home at all. And on Sundays, I usually leave the house in the morning and don't return until late that night. So again, very little computer time. The only stat I don't understand is why Wednesday is so high. What is it about Wednesday that causes me to do more searches on that day then others?

The next graph is a breakdown of averages by hour.

This graph I understand a little better. The greatest number of searches is between 8 and 5 with very few before or after. Can you guess what hours I work?
Searches in the 8:00 am hour start off relatively low, which makes sense. I usually start the day off responding to emails and voice mails that came in over night. It would probably be lower still, if I actually started work at the official 8:00 am start time. But since I usually arrive at work early, I can actually get started sooner. The joys of a salaried job.
Searches increase in the 9:00 hour as I really get into my work. They then start to drop off as we get closer to lunch. Can you guess what time I eat lunch?
Picks up again dramatically after lunch. Probably because I've had a chance to think about what ever problem I was having while I ate.
Drops off in the 5:00 hour. Would probably be lower, but I often don't leave work on time.
6:00 and 7:00 are almost empty. I would have been on the road at those times, or I just got home and am going through the mail and fixing dinner.

So as you can see, there is quite a bit of data that you could glean from looking at these graphs. Without knowing anything about me, you could actually come up with a lot of very accurate information.
1. I work in a job that requires a lot of web access. Probably IT related, but it could be news or journalistic.(If you had access to the actual sites I clicked on, which Google does, you could confirm my likely job)
2. I don't work on the weekends.
3. I work from 8 am to 5 pm.
4. I generally take lunch around 12:00 and get back around 1:00 pm(most likely an hour lunch)
5. I most likely am traveling or am not at a computer in the 6:00 and 7:00 hours.
6. I probably go to bed sometime after midnight and wake up sometime after 6:00 am.

I'm not entirely sure how this information would help Google, but it is surprising how much it tells them about me.

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