Google's head of web spam, Matt Cutts, used the product to put out his own survey about SEO in which he determined that 1 in 5 in the U.S. have heard of SEO.
"In my world, everyone I talk to has heard of search engine optimization (SEO)," he says on Google+. "But I've always wondered: do regular people in the U.S. know what SEO is? With Google's new Consumer Surveys product, I can actually find out. I asked 1,576 people 'Have you heard of 'search engine optimization'?"
"It turns out only 1 in 5 people (20.4%) in the U.S. have heard of SEO!" he says.
"The survey also turned up an interesting gender difference: almost 25% of men have heard of SEO, but only about 16% of women have," Cutts notes. "Doing this sort of market research in the past would have been slow, hard, and expensive. Asking 1,500 people a simple question only costs about $150."
The survey may only be a small set of people compared to the actual population of the country, but my guess is that's not that far off. In my experience, outside of work, most people have no idea what SEO is.