Google shows what’s hot in near real-time

Today, Google announced Google Hot Trends, a feature within the Google Trends tool. If you go to Google Trends right now, you’ll find a “Today’s Hot Trends” section, which lists the 10 top hot queries on Google (now only limited to the US site). At the daily level, Google will also show the top 100 top queries.

Two things I found interesting about this service are:

1. Google is telling us, in a near real-time fashion, what’s hot in the world. I am sure savvy webmasters will soon be able to take this information and use it to drive traffic to their sites.

2. If you go into each hot query, you’ll find a “discuss with others” link, which links to Google Groups, and appears to be a play at the Communities space. I do agree that looking at a “what’s hot” list would generate a lot of discussion, so this is a good idea by Google. At the same time, I don’t see a lot of threads there, so it remains to be seen whether this component will be a success.

Job Trends

Indeed.com has a tool similar to Google Trends called Job Trends. Basically, Indeed.com goes through its job postings and figures out how frequently a word / phrase appears. You can put in a single word or multiple words, and the tool graphs “% matching job postings” along a time scale starting from February 2005.

There are many ways this tool can be used. For example, what’s the popularity of a particular tool? What’s the relative market share for several competitors in a space? For the second question, I entered several key business intelligence tool vendor names, and the result is shown here.

Google Trends

Google Trends (trends.google.com) is a product from Google that allows users to look at how query term volumes have changed over time.

To use Google Trends, type one or multiple query terms (separated by comma) into the search box, and click the “Search Trends” button. A graph displaying the relative number of times this query term(s) was searched since the beginning of 2004 is shown. You can also view the query term distribution by region (this is basically country), city, and language.

Using Google Trends, a user is able to:

1) Understand the relative search volume of a query term over time.
2) Understand seasonality of query terms.
3) Compare multiple query terms.
4) Examine how the above trends vary with geography and language.

Many people can benefit from this tool, from SEOs doing keyword search to marketers understanding seasonality trends. Personally, I use this tool sometimes just to satisfy my own curiosity. For example, by typing in “nfl, nba”, I found that NFL is more popular in the U.S. than NBA. In virtually all other countries, though, NBA is more popular (i.e., searched more frequently) than NFL.

One thing to note is that Google doesn’t give out the absolute number of times each query term is searched. This does not diminish this product’s effectiveness.