Topic

See what’s trending across Google Search, Google News and YouTube

Topic Progress:

Click on the numbered tabs to navigate this lesson.

How Trends works

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

When people are interested in a subject, they search for more details on the internet. By understanding what large numbers of people are currently searching for, journalists can draw assumptions about which stories might be popular, or find breaking stories that they aren’t aware of yet.

Search engine companies, therefore, have data available that can help journalists understand where public interest lies at any given point in time, by analysing which search terms are rapidly increasing in popularity. And journalists can access this information and illustrate it using Google Trends.

Google Trends allows you to see the topics people are—or aren’t—following, in close to real-time. Journalists can use this information to explore potential story ideas, and can also feature Trends data within news stories to illustrate a general level of interest in, say, a political candidate, social issue or event.

In this lesson, you will learn:

  • How to find out what people are searching
  • How to compare search interest over time
  • How to compare interest in more than search term
  • How to refine a search geographically or by language

On the homepage

The Google Trends homepage (google.com/trends) features clustered topics that Google detects are related and trending together on either Search, Google News, or YouTube. Trending Stories are collected based on Google’s Knowledge Graph technology, which gathers search information from those three Google platforms to detect when stories are trending based on the relative spike in volume and the absolute volume of searches.

The Featured insights at the top of the new Google Trends homepage are curated by News Lab to highlight additional data patterns or interesting trends.

Note that the Trends data on the homepage cannot be customised to show any data specific to Africa or African countries, so be wary about drawing conclusions from this page.

The Trends homepage indicates what topics are trending right now, which can be helpful when choosing a story to write about.

By simply clicking on a topic under Stories trending now, you can access additional data including the most relevant articles, interest over time, interest by region, trending queries, and related topics. Note, however, that this homepage is filtered by country and there are no African regions available in this list.

Exploring topics

In addition to what you see on the homepage, you can explore and gauge interest in virtually any topic. This can be more useful for exploring story ideas, and will give results based on any country in the world.

Comparing global interest in African leaders over an election period.

Using Google Trends

In this walkthrough, we’ll show you how to gauge the level of public interest in the 2018 Kenyan General election.

Enter Kenya General Election in the Google Trends search bar at the top of the homepage. Press Return to see your results.

Your results page will feature three data visualisations (charts): Interest over time, Regional interest and Related searches.

 

Comparing Trends

On the results page, you can add topics to compare them simultaneously in the charts by clicking the + Compare button, or remove a topic by clicking the x that appears in its box when you hover your cursor over it.

 

Comparing groups of terms

You can compare up to five groups of terms at one time and up to 25 terms in each group. Group terms together by using the + symbol.

This could be useful to compare election candidates, or to look at nominees in an awards show.

Explore by language

If you enter a search term using non-Latin characters, you’ll see data from all countries or regions that use those characters. For example, if you enter ”選挙”, the Japanese characters for election, your results will not include much data from the United States.

You can easily compare searches of the same term in different languages. Using the election example, just enter search term 選挙  in the first search box, then enter “election” in the + Compare search box.

Narrowing or expanding your search by geography and time

On the results page under the search bar, use the Worldwide and 2004-present dropdowns to refine your exploration further by region and/or time period.

More about trends

Information on how to better understand Google Trends data and read its charts can be found in our Google Trends: Understanding the Data tutorial, and also in the Trends help centre accessible from the menu in the upper left of the homepage.

Let’s review!

Let’s Review: Trends 1