How does Google Trends know what town you're in?

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Murray Symon, Jun 4, 2007.

  1. Murray Symon

    Murray Symon Guest

    Recent news reports announced that New Plymouth has the highest per-capita
    Google searches for "bomb making", according to Google Trends.

    But I am puzzled ... just how does Google "know" what town you're in when
    you submit the query? IP address alone is not sufficient. The only
    information I can think of that would pinpoint a town is the Telephone
    exchange you are connected to (assuming ADSL), but that excludes
    wireless,satellite or cable. Do they use the address of the ISP - if so,
    then how does New Plymouth figure so high in the stats?

    The Google Trends website is short on hard details - but does admit that at
    this early stage there are innaccuracies and approximations in their data.

    Murray.
     
    Murray Symon, Jun 4, 2007
    #1
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  2. Murray Symon

    Richard Guest

    From other sites that you have signed up to and provided a real town to?
     
    Richard, Jun 4, 2007
    #2
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  3. IP geolocation software, not the most accurate but pretty good do a
    google (mind you dont mention bomb making instructions)
     
    Collector»NZ, Jun 4, 2007
    #3
  4. Murray Symon

    Fred Dagg Guest

    Generally it doesn't. Not in NZ, anyway.

    Unless traffic is through a small local ISP, you cannot get accurate
    details on locational stuff in NZ, other than that it originated from
    "somewhere in NZ". It just shows as the location of the gateway.
     
    Fred Dagg, Jun 4, 2007
    #4
  5. And funny enough one of the gateways while not being in New Plymouth is
    owned by a company there who have listed there geolocation for all there
    IP ranges as you Guessed it New Plymouth. The story is just another
    example of how dumb the media people are and how they dont fact check
    well enough before running off at the mouth
     
    Collector»NZ, Jun 4, 2007
    #5
  6. Murray Symon

    impossible Guest

    Google's search engine apparently taps GMAIL and other Google services
    to get user-specific information about all sorts of things. It feeds
    this information into the search algorithm in hopes of delivering more
    relevant content. See "Google Keeps Tweaking Its Search Engine ", in
    New York Times, 3 June 2007, here (you'll probably need to log in):

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/03/business/yourmoney/03google.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

    Whether this is the kind of information used in determining the
    geographic pattern of bomb-making queries, I can't say. But it seems
    plausible enough. The NYT article notes the obvious problems this
    raises:

    "(Google says it goes out of its way to prevent access to its growing
    store of individual user preferences and patterns. But the vast
    breadth and detail of such records is prompting lust among the nosey
    and fears among privacy advocates.) "
     
    impossible, Jun 4, 2007
    #6
  7. Murray Symon

    Murray Symon Guest

    That's exactly what I thought.
     
    Murray Symon, Jun 5, 2007
    #7
  8. Murray Symon

    Murray Symon Guest

    Thanks, that's a very plausible answer.
     
    Murray Symon, Jun 5, 2007
    #8
  9. Murray Symon

    Murray Symon Guest

    Yes, but what if you haven't "signed up" to anything (e.g. Internet Cafe').
    Also, how would Google know all the sites you are "signed up" to.
    When I do a Google search at the library, does Google know that my TradeMe
    profile says that I live in New Plymouth? I don't think so.

    Murray.
     
    Murray Symon, Jun 5, 2007
    #9
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