Google Trends

By Nathan Weinberg

One of the new services Google introduced at Press Day was Google Trends, which opens up Google’s Zeitgeist data for searching. Google presented this to journalists as a tool they could use to better do their jobs, but the fact is that journalists need harder numbers to prove anything, and Trends is filled with graphs that have zero data labels.

Trends is simple. Search for something, and you get a graph. The graph shows in the top, larger area the search volume of that term since January 2004. You can change the range, or see a single month, as well as select specific regions. You won’t get results for search terms that have too little volume, which makes it difficult to search for a trend that started yesterday (for example, not enough volume on the Google/Da Vinci Code Quest). The bottom, smaller half of the graph shows the trend for news searches.

The graph is a simple image generated by the service, so you could include the image on your blog and expect it to update as necessary. The image follows the format:{QUERY}&date=all&geo=all&graph=weekly_img

… replacing {QUERY} with the search term. That means it is even conceivable to construct graphs dynamically, based on another service’s querys, like on

Here are some graphs:




All were created by hacking the image URL, so it works just fine.

You also get some major news stories, which is what those letter posts are for. The bottom of the page lists search volume for various cities, regions and languages. Did you know Google is far more popular in Indian searched than in the U.S.?

You can also combine two search terms, seperating them by a comma, and that’ll show you a “vs.” graph. Ladies and gents, you’ve witnessed the death of GoogleFight.

iPod vs. Creative Zen:

George W. Bush vs. John Kerry vs. Howard Dean:

Democrats vs. Republicans:

The blue line is the first term, followed by the red line, then the orange one. You can enter up to five terms, seperated by commas. Again, hacking the image URL works beautifully.

Other search operators that work:

  • The bar, as in this thing: | for “OR” searches, to see how many searches contained one term or the other
  • The minus sign, for searches that contained one term but not the other (as in “apple -ipod”)
  • Quotes, for specific search terms in a specific order, so that you can search for “blue car” and not get searches that include “blue” and “car”, but are not for blue cars.

I wish Google would add actual data to the graphs, rather than just show general trends, but I am so glad Google has opened this up that I won’t complain too much. I’ll bet we’ll see a lot of bloggers using this data in their posts, although not for up-to-the-minute news stories.

May 10, 2006 by Nathan Weinberg in:

7 Responses to “Google Trends”

  1. Serge Says:

    Screenshots of Google notebook:

  2. Navin Says:

    It is really a fantastic tool which will help in our online strategy. Google is great.

  3. Stu Says:

    Damn, that Google Notebook is pretty ugly. Guess I was kinda getting my hopes up for something more like Office OneNote or whatever it’s called.

  4. Stu Says:

    As far as Trends goes, it strikes me as just kind of a little novelty or time-waster, just like Yahoo Buzz or Google Zeitgeist. Neat-o for a day but not really useful. The kind of thing that nobody’d be making any noise about if it didn’t have the word “Google” stamped on it.

    And while I’m on the subject of the new Google stuff, Google Desktop Search 4 beta is working nicely. The upgrade from 3 was swift, although it required a reboot. I really like the new Glass Media Player gadget, it’s simple and nice to look at. I’m sure others will feel the same way about the new Weather Globe Gadget, although I personally am so not into the weather — if I’m baffled about it, I’ll look out the frigging window.

    I think Google’s own GDS web page really sells the new gadgets short with their pics of them, particularly the weather globe. You can’t tell how nice the transparency effect is — it’s just like a regular clear globe, you can see what ever window or desktop happens to be behind it, and the animation, like the rain coming down, is attractive without being annoying. They should take some new screenshots for their websites.

  5. Search Engines WEB Says:

    you can also tweak the “DATE” attribute

    the 2006 limited the search to this year


    the GEO code could be replace by a country code to limit it to that country eg US

  6. john Says:

    You know this is a direct result of that subpoena the federal gov’t handed out to all the search engines. They said they wanted the data for general pedophile trends; now the feds have all the data on a silver platter…without handing over trade secrets, or personal data…..Brilliant!

  7. Robots and writers and Googlers, oh my!Posted by Jon Steinback, -- Centplus Tech Blog Says:

    […] Google TrendsOne of the new services Google introduced at Press Day was Google Trends, which opens up Google s Zeitgeist data for searching. Google presented this to journalists as a tool they could use to better do their jobs, but the fact is that … […]

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