Google Trends: tracking popularity of search terms

(As I mentioned, I am reviewing a couple of online tools to track the popularity of ideas over time. Please forgive this segway away from voting reform issues.)

Google Trends is a service by google that allows you to compare the popularity of keywords over time.

In their words:

With Google Trends, you can compare the world’s interest in your favorite topics. Enter up to five topics and see how often they’ve been searched on Google over time. Google Trends also shows how frequently your topics have appeared in Google News stories, and in which geographic regions people have searched for them most.

They also track hot trends which are search terms that have a spike of recent interest.

With Hot Trends, you can see a snapshot of what’s on the public’s collective mind by viewing the fastest-rising searches for different points of time. You can see a list of today’s top 100 fastest-rising search queries in the U.S. You can also select a recent date in history to see what the top rising searches were and what the search activity looked like over the course of that day.

Here is an example tracking the search popularity of some linux distributions (fedora (blue) vs. ubuntu (red) vs. suse (yellow):

And here is electronic voting machines (blue) vs gerrymandering (red):


  • There ought to be a way to look for hot trends on a particular topic so that, for example, I could look for ‘voting’ hot trends
  • Google news trends are not shown when complex syntax is used in the search terms
  • The trend graphs should optionally include the key in the image (eg. what red,blue,yellow stand for)
  • Google should offer trends based on what is being blogged/posted to forums as well as the search and news based trends

3 responses to “Google Trends: tracking popularity of search terms

  1. I’ll forward this to my buddy at Google. :)

  2. Another improvement would be for Google to clearly state whether users are allowed to save trend graph images and host those images on their own sites.

  3. I think they could by dragging an image off of a web page and hosting it themselves somewhere.

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