Google has launched a meme-like feature to Google Trends. The Google Trends home page now has a section named “Hot Trends,” which shows the hottest queries for the day. You can also look back historically and see the hottest queries for that day. Plus, Google Trends upgraded the trends history to show not only country data in the regions box but also state and even city detail – worldwide.
What defines a “hot trend”? Google told me they use a very sophisticated algorithm to determine what is “hot.” I was told to think of it as Google noticing a “sudden rise” in a query phrase that is not in the norm for that query. The higher the rise, the hotter the query is. Google has a “hotness level” score for these queries, the hottest is “volcanic”, followed by “on fire,” “spicy,” “medium” and “mild.”
The Google Trends home page has been enhanced to include these Hot Trends. It will show the top ten hot trends for the day, for the United States (that’s the only country currently being supported).
As you can see, you can click to view “more hot searches” at the end of the list. Clicking that link will show you a list of a 100 hot trends for that day, sorted by the hotness score. Also, you can then “change date” on this page to go back in history to see what were the hottest trends for a date in the past.
If you click on a query example or search for one, you will see more information about what makes this query so hot. This comes in handy when you not only want to know what was hot that day but want to understand why it was hot.
You can see the hotness score, related searches, when that query peaked, any related geographic elements, plus the news items, blog items and web results for that query and a chart.
This all helps you determine what made, in our example, “mr. turner” a hot query. Let’s look a bit closer.
You can see by that blog post that on the Steve Harvey Show, they told their audience to Google “Mr Turner.” So there you go.
More detailed geographic detail has been added to Google Trends. So now you can see state level and even city level search volumes for queries. One great example is comparing the US presidential candidates by state or even city. Here is a preview of that.
Google has added sub-region options for 79 countries (“regions”), so now these additional countries can be represented through the “Sub-regions” tab. Now in addition to viewing the top countries and cities that searched for a term, users can view the top “sub regions” (i.e. states within the U.S.). They also added more news results links by taking the Google Trends query and any time period selected and redirecting the page to News Archives, providing users with more background on their Trends search query. The Regions and Time drop down menus are now more easily accessible. Also, users no longer need to click on any tabs to view the Top Regions, Languages and Cities
Pretty useful and neat.
Postscript From Danny:
TechCrunch noted that some of the trends seem like glitches. I was curious and looked into it more. In three cases I examined, it turned out there were good reasons why they showed up. My comment from there:
I don’t know — if you drill down, some of these make sense.
Take nose bidet. Look at the page about it, and you’ll see a result like this:
“An audience member at the Oprah show knew what it was and she said it is a neti pot or a nose bidet. She told Oprah that she used to use one when she had.”
Ah — so Oprah talked about nose bidets, then there’s a spike in search results for it. That makes sense.
Legless Chihuahuas? Again, look at the page for that, and you’ll see:
“Legless Chihuahuas Need Home PORT WASHINGTON, NY — An animal shelter in New York is looking for a home for three Chihuahua puppies born without front legs.”
I’d guess lots of people saw that report and started Googling.
Now “what did lawyer ellis rubin suggest prison inmates could donate in exchange for reduction in their sentences in 1992″ at number 26, that’s a weird one! But if you got to the page, you see a Yahoo Answers page coming up.
Many of the answers mention radio trivia, and I’m guessing this was a radio trivia question.
I’m sure there will be glitches and even future gaming that will happen, but playing with it more, it’s even more fascinated to see the many ways offline can generate online spikes in search.
Postscript 2 From Danny:
Harder to explain oddities. Graywolf points out esoteric at 22 for May 22, and I’ve yet to find any news event that explains it. Peter spots that google smart ass was at number 10 and on the Google Trends home page, with screenshot to prove it. Now it’s number 13, as the data on the home page has already changed. Also, see further discussion at Techmeme. There’s also an official discussion group for those to share information about Hot Searches.
Postscript 3 from Barry:
I should add, Yahoo has had the Yahoo Buzz box on the Yahoo home page for a few years now. The Yahoo Buzz box on the Yahoo home page shows the top “ten movers” for the day. They even tested placing the Yahoo Buzz box within Yahoo Search results. More information about Yahoo Buzz over here.