I found an interesting article here:
It outlines how if you open a google docs spreadsheet and create two cells of related text (say two different brand of beers) then drag down the list down, the spreadsheet does a lookup from the google search engine and using some smarts automatically adds other beers to the list.
So is this the future of Analytics related services?
Imagine if you added a list of your customers and their purchase records and the engine searched for their known behaviour across the web. Then using advanced analytical techniques matched them to like individuals. Then lastly did a predictive model based on this combined behaviour to predict their next likely purchase?
All from a spreadsheet interface.
Products like SAS Rapid Predictive Modeller (RPM) are a start in that they let you create and run analytical models from within Excel. But it’s not really an on-demand service like the google example (and its certainly not free).
So can google develop a service like this, well with their ability to fund this type of development I’d say yes.
Why would they do it and more importantly why would they provide the service for free?
Well they would end up getting more of what their core business is about, data. Each time somebody uses the service Google gets to access and store the data that is being provided as the input for the analytical model.
And the provide it free bit?
Well when Google purchased Urchin and turned it into Google Analytics they ended up offering free web analytics so they certainly have form. And why did they do it, to get data of course. Every website that uses it also provides all that rich web browsing history data to Google. (And imagine the analytical behavioural models you could build with that stuff!)
Of course when Google did that they pretty much killed a raft of on-premise and SaaS web analytics companies.
What does that mean for the legacy Analytics software providers, let alone the raft of SaaS Analytical focused startups currently emerging?
As the saying goes “may you live in interesting times” and I think we are definitely going to!