Google Tools

for Competitive Intelligence
Insights from a Survey


sion Ver ted 2012 pda ch U Mar

March, 2012

Introduction and Objectives
Open source and free tools available trough the internet are becoming popular nowadays. More and more people are getting familiar about the benefit of these tools. There is a significant increase of open source tools that make information available to a large number of professionals. Google, like other leading internet companies, is offering a very large number of free tools. However, how do information users act with Google tools? In other words… Are Information users aware of all theses tools and sources? How are these tools utilized by Information users? Which are the most useful with respect to Information Users? These 3 questions motivated us to develop a survey with the aim of understanding more about this topic.
() see for instance: () We consider information user those practitioners and other professionals that utilizes information for their job and make better decisions. They can be end user or information providers as for instance consultants or competitive intelligence practitioners.

March 2012

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Executive Summary
• • • From April to June 2011 we launched a survey with the objective of understanding how 24 free Google tools were used by information users. The survey (an on-line questionnaire) obtained 466 answers from a variety of companies world-wide. Information users adopt mostly Google search engine for satisfying their needs. Indeed the Google search engine is the most important tool and is utilized as an information source. The results also show that information users concentrate their efforts on only a few tools. Although Information users are aware of a great number of Google tools, there are a significant number of tools that have not been discovered yet. Other tools are simply not used at the time.

() You can access to the survey trough the following link: March 2012
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Demographic Information: Country/Region
Respondents were mostly form West Europe (41.3%). The second largest group were form Latin America (24.2%) and North America (21.1%). The following graph will show more details of the regions.

March 2012

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Demographic Information: Sector/Industry
The sample represented many industries, although consulting was the most dominant (17,4 %) and shows almost to be double that of other sectors/industries. The following graph shows the top 10 industries.

March 2012

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Demographic Information: Position/Job
Respondents came from several job positions. There was a great variety of descriptions such as “Business Analyst”, “Librarian”, “Consultant”, “Marketing manager”, “Researcher and Analyst”, “Marketing Coordinator”, “CEO”,… However, after examining the descriptions we categorized them into 3 main groups: Information specialists, which includes Librarians and Analysts. Decision Makers, which includes Directors, Managers and CEOs. Consultants, which includes consultants, Teachers and professors.

March 2012

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Demographic Information: Years of Experience
Although there are some young professionals in Competitive Intelligence (26,2% that have2 or less years of experience) compared to those that have more than 10, the sample is composed of a wide range of experience in term of years dedicated to Information. The following graph shows greater detail.

March 2012

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How Google Tools are utilized? (1/2)
The frequency of usage of Google Tools vary quite significantly between information users. The most common tool is Google Search engine, which most professionals use. By contrast, Google Moderator is the least used. The following graph shows the overall ranking of the different tools.

Rating Average March 2012
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How Google Tools are utilized? (2/2)
The following graphs offer an alternative view of the previous result. It shows that there is an important number of tools that are unknown to information users such as, Google Squared and Public data explorer. Moreover, some tools are mostly never used and are even unknown, such as Gtalk and Google Moderator
March 2012
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Which is the most important Google Tool for CI?
Google Search, Alert, News, Reader and Maps are the tools that are most important out of a ranking of 5. However, Google Search is the tool that is ranked highest and is at least 3 times more important than any other tool. The least important 5 tools are Google: Squared, News Timeline , Public data Explorer, Real Time, and Moderator. The next graph shows the relative positioning of the tools with respect to Google Search tool compared with the degree of frequency used.

March 2012

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Top 5+5 Google Tools

1st ranked – 73,2% of 350 information users consider Google Search their 1st option

Google Search

0.8 Google Alerts has been ranked almost as 2/3 less important to Google Search Google Maps has been ranked almost as 4/5 less important to Google Search

Relative Importance


Google News has been ranked as 2/3 less important to Google Search Google Reader has been almost 3/4 less important to Google Search


Google Alerts (0.36) Google News (0.31) Google Maps (0.22) Gmail (0.20) Google Translation (0.18) You Tube (0.17) Google Scolars (0.14) Google Docs (0.12) Google Reader (0.25)


0.0 Never Rarely Sometimes Very Often Always

March 2012
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The survey shows that there are some common tools that information users utilize to gather on-line information. However, there are several tools that are rarely used or unknown and could add significant value. We therefore conclude that information users: Utilize Google tools for ad-hoc projects/researches not only for searching, but also for gathering intelligence systematically (Alert, News, or Rss ) Do not make a periodic revision of the new tools that Google make available.

March 2012

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Limitation and Further Studies
Some points for thought: 1. The survey does not show how these tools are used during the day or week. Our question: Is there any workflow that information users apply to connect or make these tools more efficient? 2. We do not know if the utilization of Google tools are inversely related to CI software. We could speculate that those users that utilize less of these free tools have some Competitive Intelligence software in their firm. 3. Additionally we do not know how much time is spent and how much time is saved by using Google Tools. Further studies can help understand these open questions.

March 2012

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If you need more information, please contact:

Alessandro Comai
info [;-)]

Miniera SL
Centre d'Empreses - Parc Tecnològic del Vallès 08290 Cerdanyola del Vallès (Barcelona), Spain Phone: +34.93.5820134

March 2012

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