The illusory Google Trends I analyzed a year ago, my first Google story at this Digital Markets Blog.
At the time, the "unveiling" of Google Trends at Google's "Press Day," was (almost) universally hailed. I underscored, nevertheless:
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.
Today, Google heralds a super, duper Google Trends, "Hot Trends!"
Is Google finally making good on its touted corporate mission to make REAL "information" available to the public? NO!
Google actually acknowledges that its "Hot Trends" is but its latest "new toy":
It's a new feature of Google Trends for sharing the the hottest current searches with you in very close to real time.
Maybe "real time" but not real information:
Hot Trends aren't the search terms people look for most often -- those are pretty predictable, like [weather] or [games] or perhaps [myspace]. Yes, [sex] too. Instead, the Hot Trends algorithm analyzes millions of searches to find those that are deviating the most relative to their past traffic. And the outcome is the Hot Trends list.
AND, the not so fine print:
Google Trends aims to provide insights into broad search patterns. Several approximations are used when computing your results. Please keep this in mind when using it.
Google is well aware that "several approximations" will not deter the world in relying on Google's declaration of what's "hot," or not.
AND, for ultimate (Googley) verification, Universal Search to the rescue:
For each Hot Trend, you will see results from Google News, Google Blog Search and web search, which help explain why the search is hot.