Google has all sorts of variations on its old standby search engine. They've combined parts of two of their lesser known searches into one new widget: Google Hot Trends. It's a list of the 100 top search trends, and you can tweak it to compare trends and peg it to different moments in time. I put in a search term for a business I'm familiar with and it returned a list of articles, a search summary over a period of several years, and a listing of searches by geographic area which corresponded closely to my own experience. In short, it's kinda handy. And a bit terrifying, when you see how mundane most of the top searche trends are.
"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 said.
The service is subtle as it seeks to spot trends in Google submissions and not just raw page rank. They filter out pornography and swearwords, or there'd never be anything else on the list.