Two seemingly unrelated items:
- In the past 24 hours, two people came to this site by googling the names of friends of mine.
- Google has released in beta Google Suggest, which is a google search that prompts you with a drop-down list of suggested queries as you type.
The connection? The first item made me wonder if there was a way to tell when other people googled you. And the second told me it was possible.
See, Google Suggest works by using a database of searches that people run on Google. That is to say, Google maintains a database of every search that is run on Google. Naturally, of course they do, when you think about it. And in that database, also of course, are things like the IP address of the person running each search. Naturally.
You see where I am going with this. Google could open up Google Suggest so developers could access the query database. You could set up an RSS feed to tell you whenever someone googles your name, or any other search term, and the IP address and other particulars of that searcher.
The applications? Vanity, of course, is obvious. You get home after meeting that cute friend-of-a-friend at a party and discover that someone nearby has been looking at your personal details. Or security: if you've got a restraining order protecting you from an abusive special someone, wouldn't you like to know if that someone is searching for your whereabouts? Or marketing: say you're introducing a new product, wouldn't you like to know how often and from where people are searching for it?
Of course, given the pace of things, this probably already exists before I hit post.