I now know why Google's staff are so rich and wealthy.
It's not down to their shares, which rocketed since the 2004 IPO:
because, like everyone else's, it's also tanked.
Google's stock peaked at the end of 2007 at over $700 per share and is now down at just under $400.
Result: there must be other ways of making money.
And yes, Google have found a way.
Live search analysis in real-time.
Using live search analysis, you can rapidly see market movements, issues and opportunities, often before it breaks on the news.
This is something I had forgotten that Nelson Mattos, Chief Google Engineer for Europe, mentioned during his presentation in February which I chaired. Now that I've got the slides, I was reminded of his words in respect to flu.
Here are the official USA Disease Control statistics for flu in the USA (not Swine Flu!) and the Google searches for same:
What this shows is that Google sees flu outbreaks by city, town and village based upon user searches often before doctors, hospitals and health authorities. The same would be true for other things, such as buying cars, as discussed in the Economist this week.
Similar live tracking of people's thoughts occurred during Barack Obama's inauguration speech based upon whoever was on stage:
What this means is that as news breaks about commodities, companies, countries and clients, you can short sell or hedge the news in real-time.
Before Bloomberg or Reuters tells you in some cases.
Wouldn't it be nice if you could have that sort of system?
Well you do!
And if you're really interested in this, Health News compares real-time tracking of the swine flu outbreak between Twitter and Google to try and work out which one was more effective in pre-emptively spotting the issue.