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Creating and using visualisations from Trends data

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Using Google Trends data and assets

This lesson has been adapted from Google NewsLab and is reproduced with permission.

Google Trends measures what people are searching for right now. In your news stories you may want to include that information to help illustrate current interest in, say, a political candidate or social issue.

Trends makes it very easy to find, embed and download its data, helping to bring stories to life. Look at the way the Trends graph has been used to illustrate interest in Russian elections below.

In this lesson, you will learn:

  • How to create graphics using Google Trends data
  • How to embed those graphics in a webpage

Embedding Google Trends visualisations

It’s very easy to embed any or all of the Google Trends data visualisations that result from a search—Interest Over Time, Regional Interest and Related Searches—to spotlight the topics people are looking for.

Just click the “Embed” button in the Actions menu in the top right corner of the data visualisation. A pop-up window will appear on the lower left where you can copy and paste the HTML code into your web page.

Creating your own data visualisations

While Google Trends data visualisations can be embedded just as they appear on the Trends site, you may occasionally want to use only the data from these charts to create your own, customised visualisation for a story.

To separate the data from the chart, you’ll want to download its CSV (Comma Separated Values) file. On the results page (where the charts appear) just click the menu icon in the upper right of each chart. Then choose “CSV”, and once downloaded you can open the file and build custom charts using a spreadsheet application like Google Sheets. Remember that you must be signed in to your Google account to use this feature.

Be inspired

If you’re still not sure how Google Trends can help to tell your stories, there’s plenty of great examples out there. Check out this recent award-winning visualisation and interactive data-explorer about food by Moritz Stefaner, Yuri Vishnevsky, Simon Rogers and Alberto Cairo, The Rhythm of Food.

In The Rhythm of Food, a fascinating story which unveils what people are eating and when, from all across the world, is discovered and told using Trends data. See the image below for when apricots are popular in the US.

Guidelines for using Google Trends information

As you’ve seen, Google Trends information can be a useful tool to help illustrate a story. Just remember that information from Google Trends is subject to the Google Terms of Service. Please also adhere to the Google Trends Brand Guidelines, which can be found here.