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




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.