As Google Trends turns 15, the company looks back at the best searches many years ago and offers tips to get more out of this tool.
Google Trends was launched in the summer of 2006, though its data goes back to 200. With its 15-year anniversary coming this summer, Google compares what people searched for in 2006 with today.
Originally created as an experimental tool to help Google users analyze search data collectively, Google Trends was made available to the public after the company realized how useful it could be to others.
Compared to what Google Trends can do now, its functionality was extremely limited at launch. It could only provide data on exact matching keywords in selected languages.
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The tool has since received a number of significant updates, first starting with daily trends and the ability to organize data into categories. Now the data better reflects what people are interested in, regardless of the exact wording they use.
Finally, Google Trends added multi-language support along with better visualizations and new ways of searching – e.g. Image search and videos.
Google Trends remains one of the only tools out there that offers real-time data on what searchers are interested in, as well as data on how their level of interest has changed over the years.
In a blog post celebrating the anniversary of Trends, Google offers a snapshot of what was going on when the tool was first launched. There is nothing particularly groundbreaking in this data, but it is interesting to reflect on the users’ search function 15 years ago.
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15 years of Google Trends
Most searched texts
These trends suggest that the power of the pop star is stronger than ever, as an artist is currently taking over three of the top five spots for the most sought-after songs.
Most sought after actors
These data suggest that it is now Gen Z that is setting the trends when it comes to visual entertainment like movies and television.
Most searched TV series
Looking at this data, it seems that reality shows do not have the stranglehold on the TV industry that they once had.
Most searched games
According to these trends, puzzles and shooters are still at the top of the gaming industry. At least when it comes to monthly searches.
Related: 12 Ways to Use Google Trends for SEO
15 tips to get more out of Google Trends
Google offers the following 15 tips for Google Trends power users:
Date by Date: Google Trends can tell you what people searched for on any date from 2004 to a few minutes ago. Top Search Trend: Popular searches are the ones that accelerate the fastest, the most searched are the most searched queries in a given time frame. Search by topic: Google recommends searching for “topics” rather than “terms” when it is possible. Compare search data by location: Google Trends normalizes search data to the time and location of a query, making it easier to compare terms. This means that search results by geography are comparable. Today’s trends: For a number of countries around the world, you can see what’s trending every day. What’s trending right now: Real-time search trends can show you what’s happening right now and in news coverage. Always Compare: To understand the extent of a trend, use relative comparisons to measure popularity. See how different places search for the same thing: You can compare up to five topics or search terms, and specify geographical location for each one. Visualize common interests: Google Trends is “truly a people-centric dataset,” the company says. The data show that no one is alone in wanting more information on even the most obscure topics. Trends are not polls: Google Trends should not be confused with poll data. Professional use cases: Google shares an example of how to use Trends in the Workplace. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) uses Trends to track GDP each week, between its quarterly releases, to get a more detailed overview of what’s happening to the world economy. AutoComplete is not the same as Trends data: Google has policies for what may appear in AutoComplete. Trends allows users to look up search interests for almost any query. See what’s near you: Google Trends in the US lets the user see what’s trending in a metro area without entering a search term. Download your data: Click the download button next Have fun with it: Google notes that approximately 15% of searches each day have never been seen before. Trends are an effective way to keep up with people’s ever-changing search interests.