Google Trends

Hmmm… The world is even odder than I had supposed. I’ve just been looking at what Google calls ‘hot trends’. Here’s how the company explains the list:

It’s a new feature of Google Trends for sharing the the hottest current searches with you in very close to real time. What’s on our collective mind as we search for information? What’s interesting to people right now? Hot Trends will tell you. At a glance, you’ll see the huge variety of topics capturing our attention, from current events to daily crossword puzzle clues to the latest celebrity gossip. Hot Trends is updated throughout the day, so check back often.

For each Hot Trend, you will see results from Google News, Google Blog Search and web search, which help explain why the search is hot. For example, the #7 item on Thursday, May 17th was the cryptic phrase [creed thoughts]. The associated news stories and blog results show that this odd term is the name of a fake website mentioned on the season finale of The Office. Mystery solved. Of course, some searches are not as easily explained. Visit the Hot Trends group to read the explanations of others and offer your own.

If you want to look further back, you can also see what queries were hot on a particular day. On Wednesday, May 16th, [melinda doolittle], [halo 3 beta], and [ge dishwasher recall] were on the Hot Trends list. If you don’t know why, maybe you’ll learn something.

Hot Trends aren’t the search terms people look for most often — those are pretty predictable, like [weather] or [games] or perhaps [myspace]. Yes, [sex] too. Instead, the Hot Trends algorithm analyzes millions of searches to find those that are deviating the most relative to their past traffic. And the outcome is the Hot Trends list.

My problem is that even with the aid of this explanatory technology, I am still puzzled by many of the search terms.