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April 26, 2006

The First Step is Admitting You Have A Problem

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This is cool. Or scary. To be perfectly honest, I haven’t decided which one I think it is. I’ll let you be the judge.

Last week blogger Joe Schmidt asked his readers a very thought provoking question, and then did what few bloggers are known to do, he provided an answer.

The question: How much do you Google?

Joe’s answer? Six thousand, three hundred and fifty seven times a year. According to Joe’s math, that’s an average of 17.4 unique searches a day, every day, for an entire year. When you think about it like that, it doesn’t actually sound like that much. Or maybe that’s because these days I receive Google pretty much intravenously. Or because that only includes the searches Joe performed when he was actually logged in to Google.

Either way, Joe uses Google’s Search History feature, which I didn’t even know existed, to acquire the data. The feature was implemented a year ago and offers users the option of having Google record and index their complete search history. You have to log in to the service before it takes effect, but once it does, Google begins keeping track of all your search queries and the links clicked on and makes the data searchable. I’m assuming they have all this information anyway, no? Isn’t that what the DOJ was fighting for? I guess this just gets you access to it.

Being able to search through a years worth of searches is cool, but the real fun comes from the graphs that Google creates out of your data. Oh yes, there are graphs.

First, there’s the month-to-month graph which shows you just how much time you wasted spent searching on Google each day. They even color-code it so you can see exactly how much time was spent searching. (We’re glad to see that Joe was seemingly able to detach himself from Google for most major holidays.)

And in case that’s not enough to send you running to a support group, Google also creates a Trends graph that breaks down your results by Month, Day and Hour. In my opinion, the best part of Joe’s post comes from examining the Hour Search Activity graph. Why? Because it tells Joe he is most active between 11pm and 2am, with more than a handful of searches being performed from 4-5am. I guess that’s not too surprising, as the “Why” section of his blogs reads: needed something to do at 2am. Geez, get some sleep!

So, we throw the question back to you. How much do you Google?

(Hat-Tip John Battelle)

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