I'm trying to not let this series get derailed by my love for gadgets (note -- not a single post yet about either Google's Nexus One or the upcoming Apple iTablet) and am instead focusing on some of the more fascinating concepts at play on the web today.
Searchblog's John Battelle has hit on one of them -- a concept that he calls "The Database of Intentions", which he describes as:
"...the aggregate results of every search ever entered, every result list ever tendered, and every path taken as a result. It lives in many places. . .(and) represents, in aggregate form, a place holder for the intentions of humankind - a massive database of desires, needs, wants, and likes that can be discovered, supoenaed, archived, tracked, and exploited to all sorts of ends. Such a beast has never before existed in the history of culture, but is almost guaranteed to grow exponentially from this day forward. This artifact can tell us extraordinary things about who we are and what we want as a culture. And it has the potential to be abused in equally extraordinary fashion."
Battelle then links to the Google Zeitgeist tool, available here and which itself is described thus:
"Zeitgeist" means "the spirit of the times", and Google reveals this spirit through the aggregation of millions of search queries we receive every day. We have several tools that give insight into global, regional, past and present search trends. These tools are available for you to play with, explore, and learn from. Use them for everything from business research to trivia answers.
From one page, you can access Google Trends, Trends for Websites (to get data on your firm's site), Insights for Search (create lists of "fastest rising" queries for different geographic regions over time and by topic) and Hot trends (updated multiple times per day) as well as archives back to 2001.