Google Trends, an invention of Google Labs, performs a similar function to more traditional database analysis software by allowing users to slice Google search data in a very specific way – examining the relative popularity of any search term. See Leonhardt’s essay The Internet Knows What You’ll Do Next in today’s New York Times for more information about this informing and entertaining tool. John Battelle, says Leonhardt, once referred to the Internet as a “database of intentions”. Google Labs has given us a tool to read those intentions for ourselves. I decided to conduct a little experiment.n the Google Trends search window, I did a comparison search for the terms “Democrats” and “Republicans”. Google Trends graphed the  results, gave some key events pertinent to the chart highs, and then showed the results by city.

Note that the term “Democrats” had more searches in every case, even in Republican strongholds like Texas and Ohio.  If search engines truly reflect a “database of intentions” then we may be getting a forecast of what’s to come this Fall.

Cities Regions Languages Loading…
Top cities (normalized)
2. Reston, VA, USA
4. Seattle, WA, USA
6. Philadelphia, PA, USA
8. Minneapolis, MN, USA
10. Portland, OR, USA

Newsmap is a very cool application that uses a treemap visualization algorithm to display the constantly changing content of the Google news aggregator. You can visualize headlines by country, and/or by topic in order to reveal underlying patterns in news coverage.

It seems that detecting whether your internet messages are going through an ATT/NSA data collection point is easier than anyone imagined.

On any PC, go to your RUN window and type tracert followed by your destination website (for example, I typed tracert Sure enough, by hop 6 my packet moved from Seattle’s Comcast network to ATT San Francisco, home of the infamous room 641A – NSA’s listening post in the ATT building there.

See the full story on this at Wired’s 27B Stroke 6 blog.

Under the carte blanche of the so-called “War on Terror”, a carte blance which has a seemingly infinite sweep of coverage, you can now consider your activities in social networks like MySpace to be scrutinized as well, according to an article in the June 9 online edition of New Scientist entitled “Pentagon Sets Its Sights On Social Networking Websites“.

According to Paul Marks, who wrote the piece, the NSA isn’t satisfied with the results of their massive telephone eavesdropping campaign and is looking to “connect the dots” through the much richer information source of online social networks. As Marks puts it, “Clusters of people in highly connected groups become apparent, as do people with few connections who appear to be the intermediaries between such groups. The idea is to see by how many links or “degrees” separate people from, say, a member of a blacklisted organisation.”

For an excellent analysis, read Dana Boyd’s NSA Spying on Digital Publics article.

As I read Stowe Boyd’s essay “Moving to the Edge: The Hunter/Gatherer Future“, it reminded me of how the revolutionary impact of technology seems to have completely missed the opportunity to address the number one issue that our planet is facing today – global warming.

It seems to me that one way to keep this issue uppermost in our minds is to require a statement of environmental impact in terms that the consumer understands. Quantify it in a similar way that we do our food labels (serving size, number of calories broken down by carbohydrate, fat and protein), so when we buy our next cell phone, or DVD, we can see a numerical impact value of what it cost the environment.




and then repeat.

The faster a company, or a government, can perform these tasks when it comes to sorting through their data files, the more effective they become. The challenge of today and the forseeable future, is learning how to sort, sift, mine, and organize petabytes of raw data to find the answers to our questions. It's almost never a case of "does an answer exist", but more often one of "how do I find it" – that's what this blog is dedicated to.

The more traditional trinity of business intelligence paradigms is organize, process and analyze (which has a military intelligence pedigree to it), however I came to appreciate the 3 A's after hearing about a very non-BI event – the death of Al Qaeda terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarkawi by American and British special forces. According to a story in The Army Times, the strategy adopted by these elite teams was to acquire intelligence, quickly analyze it and then immediately act on it. Delta Force team members, who implemented the strategy, call it "the unblinking eye".

If you can lift this strategy out of the battlefield and apply it to business intelligence and corporate performance management instead, then I'm certain you'll see an increase in the efficient and effective use of your data resources.


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