Using Google Trends to follow breaking news

Friday saw a worrying set of Islamic terror attacks in three different locations.

Google’s newly launched Trends feature allows you now to see how the search volumes change in almost realtime.

Some of this analysis was available before, but the ability to zero in on very specific days is yielding a more meaningful ability to analyze.

See this chart I just created showing the interest of English language searchers in each attack.


Thinking Outside the box – A cell Phone Example

See below from the Los Angeles Times today.

I think its a great idea…
I am wondering whether there are other ways to utilize the public and devices they are carrying for the greater good.
The free Mobile GPS App – WAZE uses crowd-sourcing to provide information on traffic jams (and speed traps).
Food for thought…

Teaching phones to smell danger

Today’s cellphones have the technology to take photos, record videos, check stocks and play games.

Now the Department of Homeland Security is teaming up with high-tech firms to develop a cellphone that could also thwart terrorist attacks.

The department’s science and technology arm is spearheading a plan to give cellphones the ability to sniff out dangerous chemicals. If successful, the phones could help detect chemical attacks at airports, train stations and subway stops, the agency said.

In 2007, the department called on companies to develop the danger-sensing technology. Now it’s pushing ahead, working with wireless technology developer Qualcomm Inc., camera lens specialist Rhevision Technology Inc. and NASA.

As they are envisioned, these cellphones would sound an alarm if they sensed a noxious gas such as chlorine.

But if the phone detected something more deadly, such as sarin gas, it could send a message directly to authorities, using GPS technology to pinpoint the location of the gas.

If the idea works, every person armed with a cellphone could become a sentry against terrorist attacks. Nearly 90% of the U.S. population owns a cellphone.

That’s about 277 million phones sniffing the air for trouble.