Image by Getty Images via @daylifeThanks to the wonderful tour committee at BayNet I was able to make my second visit to the GooglePlex in Mountain View on Thursday evening.
The first time was a visit several years ago sponsored by CSLA Northern Region 4. It's my understanding that Google suspended tour groups for a while after that visit so I was pleasantly surprised when we were able to arrange this trip to the Google campus.
Katherine Bevcar arranged for a great speaker, Dan Russell, to talk about "Sensemaking."
Dan is a leader in the field of search in general and using Google specifically to best effect. On his blog, SearchReSearch, Dan regularly poses some very interesting search challenges.
By the end of his presentation, which included some interaction -- all participants were using laptops with the Chrome OS -- I realized a couple things: first, there's an awful lot going on at Google which even the most avid fan doesn't know about unless they are really digging, and second, there are many tools Google has developed to help us make sense of information for our selves and our patrons.
I'll just point to one of the sites Dan mentioned.
Google Insights for Search allows the user to find and compare various topics and how they have been searched over time. Search, for example, "turkey" and you will find (no great surprise) that it has a rhythm peaking each year in November. You can compare various terms in the same chart and see how they relate in interesting ways.