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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.
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.
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.
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.
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: Trends 1
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Question 1 of 5
What factors does Google use to determine which topics are “trending?”CorrectIncorrect
Question 2 of 5
When you click on a topic in “Stories trending now,” which type of information is NOT available?CorrectIncorrect
Question 3 of 5
When you perform a query in Google Trends, what types of information will surface in your immediate results?CorrectIncorrect
Question 4 of 5
When you enter a query as a “search term” versus a “topic” which of the following is true?CorrectIncorrect
Question 5 of 5
What are the maximum number of terms you can compare at one time?CorrectIncorrect