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June 17, 2015, 2:17 p.m.
Aggregation & Discovery
LINK: googleblog.blogspot.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Justin Ellis   |   June 17, 2015

Google is out with a new update to Google Trends, its tool for monitoring all the millions of things people are searching for around the world. Specifically, Google Trends now lets you get a realtime look at what stories and topics people are interested in. Nimrod Tamir, of the Google Trends team, explains:

You can now explore minute-by-minute, real-time data behind the more than 100 billion searches that take place on Google every month, getting deeper into the topics you care about. During major events like the Oscars or the NBA Finals, you’ll be able to track the stories most people are searching for and where in the world interest is peaking. Explore this data by selecting any time range in the last week from the date picker.

What does that look like in practice? Similar to Fuego, Trends can provide a snapshot of what stories and topics people are interested in. For reporters and editors, that could be one additional tool to gauge where readers are headed. What might be especially useful about Trends is that it allows a user to dig deeper, showing how the interest in a search topic has grown or dropped over time, and how it maps across cities, counties, or countries.

For instance, I can compare searches for “St. Louis Cardinals” over the last seven days between Missouri and Texas. Funnily enough, related topics include “Houston Astros — Baseball team” and “Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

In the last few years, Google has tried to find ways to repackage and market many of its products for journalists, culminating in the Google Media Tools collection. Trends was built with a similar group of users in mind, Tamir wrote: “Many of these changes are based on feedback we’ve collected through conversations with hundreds of journalists and others around the world — so whether you’re a reporter, a researcher, or an armchair trend-tracker, the new site gives you a faster, deeper and more comprehensive view of our world through the lens of Google Search.”

The Trends homepage and trending stories pages are designed to provide context around the people and topics that are gaining traction. As explainers gain more traction as a format for stories, Trends could offer a sense of what questions people may have around a given story, like Greece and the Euro, or AT&T getting fined by the FCC.

What may also prove useful to journalists is the ability to subscribe to search topics or download selected datasets created by the Google News Lab team on GitHub.

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