Using Search Trends To Predict Google's Next Move

While forecasting Google's next game-changing move can be tricky (who would have thought they'd get into developing renewable energy?), Hitwise analyst Heather Hopkins has a strategy for predicting which particular industry the giant might choose to make waves in next. By looking at clickstream data, Hopkins finds categories where Google sends large amounts of traffic, but doesn't have its own established property.

The giant has properties in all but two of the top 15 categories visited after a user searches on Google.com--including "shopping and classifieds" (Google Base and Google Product Search), "education - reference" (Google Knol, Google Scholar, Google Answers and Google Book Search), and "lifestyle" (Blogger).

"Health and medical" and "computers and Internet - games" are the only two major traffic-driving categories where Google is not represented, and Hopkins ponders whether we'll see a Google-powered metaverse like Second Life or a health-focused Google property emerge first. It may end up being the latter, and Hopkins throws a nod to Phillip Lenssen's recent Google Blogoscoped post (which detailed the Google Health portal possibly emerging from stealth mode) as the inspiration for this post.

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Tags: search
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