September 8, 2008

Survey Says Waikato is Google-Eyed

By NEEMS, Jeff

The number of Waikato hits on Google indicates we're an inquisitive lot, reports Jeff Neems .


RANKINGS: Waikato's position, compared to other regions over the past 12 months, for randomly selected Google search topics First for: Waikato, education, alcohol, photography, news, environment, Waikato Times, Fonterra. Second: university, jobs, dairy, milk, government. Third: sport, tax. Fourth: school, cheap flights Fifth: film, Olympics Results from Times staff searches using the Insights tool this week.


Is the Waikato a region of well- educated, boozy V8 fans who like taking photographs of the environment and are hungry for the latest news?

That could be the assumption based on the Google searches of Waikato internet users, according to a new online tool the global internet giant has launched, Google Insights for Search.

The tool allows web users to rank regions by the number of searches for specific topics.

Of a series of randomly selected topics entered by the Times, Waikato led the rest of the country for searches for "alcohol", "education", "news", "V8", "photography", "Fonterra" and "environment" over the past 12 months. In the same period, the Waikato ranked second for regional searches for "university", "jobs", "building" and "dairy", third for "sport" but trailed the field for "Toyota", "weather" and "music".

Environment Waikato communications manager Karen Bennett described the top ranking of "environment" as "excellent".

"We know the one thing people really value about the Waikato is our natural environment and I guess that's reflected to some degree in their web searches," Ms Bennett said.

"Wouldn't it be great if all these people were Googling for tips on how they might help protect our natural resources for current and future generations? Go Waikato!"

Sport Waikato chief executive Matthew Cooper knew of Google's new tool, and was pleased to see Waikato ranking third for "sport" searches.

"I think the region's always been well-known for our sporting prowess, exports and facilities - I always say Waikato has been a benchmark for sport, and that's been reflected here," he said.

He was upbeat about the poor showing of "rugby" among Waikato Googlers during the past 12 months. "I guess if we took that survey through September, you'll see a dramatic change because the Mooloo boys are on a roll."

Google New Zealand spokesman Sean Carlson said the new tool had proved "fascinating" for web users throughout the world.

(c) 2008 Waikato Times. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.