SEM savant Marty Weintraub has an excellent post on the dumbing down of the Google Adwords Keyword Tool.
Google owns the largest first-hand sampling of query data in many parts of the world. Now, breaking rank with 15+ years of holistic search engine open-source tradition, Google has decided marketers should no longer have easy access to the long, or even mid tail data (search inventory), unless the keyword has demonstrated “commercial” characteristics historically. Effectively, in tandem with the well-established user-herding “suggest” feature, this move consolidates Google’s semantic semi-monopoly into fewer keyword SKUs…
The revolution of search has traditionally been centered on our ability to discover how humans search, the words they use, in what order, the frequency thereof and other subtle semantic permutations. Unless we want to subscribe (in resignation) to Google’s dumb-ass shortening of the known language universe, this tool borders on useless. No more will Google’s sampling of human queries be easily available just for the asking.
As Marty points out in his post, this move provides a lot of opportunity to other keyword research tools, particularly Bing’s.