Google has introduced new topic reports in Google Trends aimed at giving users smarter information about the search queries they are seeking.
Google gives the examples of “rice” and “Gwyneth Paltrow”. With the new reports, it can distinguish between rice (the food) and Rice University, and it can include common misspellings of Paltrow’s name as part of the report for that query.
When the user starts typing in the search box, it will include topic predictions (which will come in handy for examples like “rice”).
“In addition to helping with ambiguous search terms like ‘rice,’ the new feature also automates counting many different searches that probably mean the same thing,” explains Google software engineer Gil Ran. “So, when you measure interest in ‘Gwyneth Paltrow (Actress)’ our algorithms count many other searches that mean the same thing ‘Gweneth Paltrow,’ ‘Gwen Paltro,’ etc. As our systems improve, we may even count searches like ‘Lead actress in Iron Man.’ This can be particularly useful for topics that are commonly searched with misspellings and in different languages.”
A Google web search won’t even return a Paltrow answer for the “lead actress in Iron Man” just yet.
The topic reports are currently in beta, so they’re a work in progress. There are already over 700,000 unique topics available, however. You can look at the data globally or by country. You can only do it for seven countries so far: Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, UK, and US.
Google has not yet updated its Zeitgeist site for 2013, which shows the top trends of the year. Yahoo, Bing and Ask have each shared their lists.