In our quest to provide comprehensive analysis of tech industry trends, most technology bloggers have become statistics junkies. To see what's popular we often rely on a bevy of metrics -- Google Trends, Technorati posts, Nielsen Buzzmetrics, Compete stats, Facebook friends, etc. The list goes on and on. But comparing those statistics and trying to grok a trend isn't always an easy task. A new site called Trendrr is aiming to make that task easier by allowing users to manipulate a growing number of publicly available data sets.

Trendrr currently offers up data from 17 different data sets -- and the site is always adding more. These are things like: stock charts, YouTube video plays, MySpace friends, comments, or profile views, Amazon sales rank, Google News mentions, etc. Users can also input custom data via the site's RESTful API or by hand. Users are allowed to track up to 20 data sets at a time.

Once Trendrr is tracking your data, it can then be mashed up into comparison graph. Data can be left absolute or scaled relatively, and the site supports line, area, bar, and scatter graphs. These charts can then be embedded, linked to, or exported via excel, xml, or json. Trendrr can also export data via its new simple graph syndication API.

For example, below is a chart I whipped up comparing the Amazon Sales Rank of the Rick Astley "Never Gonna Give You Up" LP and the YouTube plays of the "rick roll" video. As much as I wish that meme would go away, it does look like it might be helping the man sell a few records.

My main gripe with Trendrr is that it doesn't always have historical access to data. That makes sense for some data sets -- it can't possibly have historical data for YouTube plays unless it was already tracking the video, and it can't possibly track every video on YouTube (at least, not without some serious resources). It does have historical data for some sources where it is available -- such as Google News mentions, but it is inexplicably missing historical data for others where it should be available -- such as stock quotes. As a result, for some data sets, tracking data won't show up for about 24 hours. My plan to offer a graph of Yahoo!'s stock price against Google News mentions was foiled because of the lack of historical data (3 days doesn't make a very compelling graph).

Conclusion

All in all, Trendrr is potentially a very useful site. It makes the task of visually comparing large data sets a breeze, and can handle the tracking of changing web data for you. The team also seems very well put together and dedicated to building out the Trendrr service -- since I came across it last week they added four new data sources and a syndication API (the schema for which was released under a creative commons license, by the way).

Trendrr also gets some serious humor points for their choice of default avatar. I once read that Flickr made their default avatar so bland and dull on purpose in an attempt to get people to change it to something more personal. Trendrr's default is... this guy:

If ol' Dick doesn't get you to immediately change your avatar, I don't know what will!