Google took to its official blog on 17th June to announce updates to Google Trends. The announced changes include the introduction of minute-by-minute data in real time, a refreshed homepage, and the integration of YouTube and Google News data. The latter update is aimed at better determining trending topics. Taken together, the changes represent the most comprehensive update by Google Trends since 2012.
Google wrote on its blog that the introduction of real-time data is in response to the more than 100 billion searches made each month. Nimrod Tamir, Google Trends team member, explained that users will be “able to track the stories most people are searching for and where in the world interest is peaking.” Google’s News Lab team follows those stories that are trending each day. The News Lab team can be followed on Twitter. Data journalists interested in conducting their own analyses can, from 17th June, use data sets being published on particular topics via Google’s Github page.
Google has rolled out a homepage at google.com/trends, with the emphasis on those topics that are currently ranking. According to the search engine giant, the new homepage is available in 28 countries, with more countries expected to be added to the list over the coming months.
The tracking of search trends is being combined with the tracking of trends on Google News and YouTube, with data from all three sources determining the topics and stories with momentum. Good news for content writing that is well-written and relevant!
Many newsrooms are deploying Google data to help guide their reporting. For example, the Guardian and BuzzFeed both utilised Trends data in their coverage of the recent general election in the UK. BuzzFeed came up with a map tracking the most-searched-for party leader in each constituency. The Guardian was able to use Trends data to report on what questions voters were asking Google about candidates. The Washington Post compiled an interactive data visualisation on the topic of climate change that gave users the opportunity to see for themselves the most pressing environmental issues in different urban centres worldwide.
Based on what Google is doing, data-driven storytelling seems to be the way forward.