Google Transparency Traffic Tool : A Hidden Gem

Google released yesterday a new service called the Transparency report which allows users to see the number of government inquiries for information about users and requests to "take down" or censor content altogether.

The Government Requests interactive map and the related data that is associated comes from Google's huge databases and can be accessed through a tool called Traffic which resembles its Finance section.

Traffic, as its names indicates, shows traffic to Google all around the world and includes data from 125 countries and territories worldwide across 17 of the company's most important services going back to January 2009.

The module is divided into three different sections. The top part comprises of two pull down menus for the country and the service being probed, the second section show a normalised graph of the traffic and is updated regularly while the third one still remains a mystery.

Normally, such a double-decker graph helps the user to see easily view large periods of time (see this example) but this is not the case for the Traffic tool as the variations are too large.

Nevertheless, even if you cannot compare figures, the fact that the data is normalised means that you can see how a service grew over the last two years. For example Orkut grew in Brazil over the last two years but has all but disappeared in Poland.