The illusory Google Trends

Summary:Following Google’s instructions, however, results in colorful, but numberless, graphs. In addition to its lack of any numerical quantification of search activity, whatever data is suggested by the tool is incomplete and not representative, according to Google’s own disclaimer.

At today’s Press Day, Google proudly unveiled “Google Trends”, a tool to “see what the world is searching for”. Google’s About Google Trends page says:

Enter up to five topics and see how often they’ve been searched for on Google…we then show you a graph with the results—our search-volume graph. Located just beneath our search-volume graph is our news-volume graph. This graph shows you the number of times your topic appeared in Google news stories…

Following Google’s instructions, however, results in colorful, but numberless, graphs. In addition to its lack of any numerical quantification of search activity, whatever data is suggested by the tool is incomplete and not representative, according to Google’s own disclaimer:

Google Trends aims to provide insights into broad search patterns. It is based upon just a portion of our searches, and several approximations are used when computing your results. Please keep this in mind when using it.

Should Google share with its users hard, useful data on the searches its users perform at Google? Join the conversation: “Talk Back” below to share your thoughts.

Topics: Google

About

A former ZDNet blogger, Donna Bogatin is the founder of online directional media properties VIPOffers.com and UrbanSavings.com. In addition to her own ventures, Donna has been advising companies on Web-based business development since 1997, when she created and led an "Internet For Entrepreneurs" workshop for the Small Business Administra... Full Bio

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