Google service chases what's hot and what's not
The art of trend-spotting is set to take a more scientific turn as Google,
the world's top Web search company, on Tuesday is expected to unveil a service
to track the fastest-rising search queries.
Google Hot Trends combines
elements of Zeitgeist and Trends--two existing Google products that give a
glimpse into Web search habits, but only in retrospect based on weeks-old data.
Hot Trends, a list of the current top-100 fastest-rising search trends, will
be refreshed several times daily, using data from millions of Google Web
searches conducted up to an hour before each update, the company said.
What's hot and what's not will be knowable to the masses in ways pioneering
social philosophers could never have imagined.
"There are events going on all the time that most of us aren't aware of
happening," Amit Patel, a Hot Trends software engineer and an early Google
employee, said in an interview.
From news to gossip, the profound to the truly inane: baffled Google users
seek the meaning of the phrase "motion to recommit" in the latest congressional
debate, or search the phrase "I who have nothing"--the title of a song sung by a
recent contestant on televised competition American Idol.
And watch how the Web generation cuts corners: each night before a national
college entrance examination, Google sees heavy searches from what appears to be
high school students making last-minute preparations ahead of the test, Patel
For years, Google has compiled a list of popular searches it calls Google
Zeitgeist, offering a weekly, monthly or annual retrospective look back at what
its users wanted to know. Hot Trends updates and automates this process by
giving a contemporary snapshot of what is on people's minds--at least as
reflected by what goes through Google Web search each day.
Each Hot Trends response shows not just links to potentially related sites,
but also links to associated Google News stories and blog searches, providing
"After we find what trends that are interesting, users will want to know why
are they important?" Patel said. "We are helping you find an explanation: There
is some investigation that has to be done by the user."
The experimental service also allows users to select specific dates to see
what the top-rising searches were at a given point in the recent past, starting
The Mountain View, Calif.-based company is also introducing changes to its
existing Google Trends service, which offers charts and other data to see how a
trend evolves over time or how it compares to other trends over time.
Now, in addition to viewing the top countries and cities that searched for a
term, users can see how search habits around a particular trend vary from region
to region in the United States, as well as across 70 different countries. For
example, political junkies can track Google search patterns for particular U.S.
presidential candidates by state.
Hot Trends finds the fastest-rising trends instead of the most-popular
topics, which search experts say still centers around sex, sex and more sex. Hot
Trends screens "inappropriate language" and pornography.
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|Tech News:||Updated: February 2008|