Now, Google has reduced Google Trends to a landing page that has an input field, and a rolling list of just nine “Hot Searches” with links to mainstream media websites, in a blatant effort to promote a few organizations (is this a cartel?) and allow them to shape the news for the rest of us. About the only good thing Google did was meld Google Trends with Google Insight For Search.
The Google Trends that was reformed earlier this year in June is still there, but you have to know to click on “Hot Searches” to get to it – the words “Hot Searches” are not colored to imply the existence of a link.
Google’s turned from good to evil.
When Google Trends was first established in 2007, it set the standard for usability, with the objective of determining what was being searched for the most at any given time. Google Trends consisted of 100 listings, and was the perfect “Go-to” tool for bloggers who were establishing their own news sites. In this blogger’s last installment chronicling the ruining of Google Trends, this was what was written:
Google is on a mission to kill the news sources for bloggers, and it seems we bloggers are as a whole too stupid to see it. In 2007, Google Trends had the top 100, then that went to 60, then 40, then 20, and now it’s almost useless.
What’s Google’s Rationale For The Change?
Why did Google make this change, since the last time they altered Google Trends was in June of this year? First, what I wrote in June is worth repeating…
Google has never regularly given the reason for these changes in Google Trends, and in the past some, like Bob Dobalina at Yahoo Publisher Network, have assumed it was for some purpose that Google never stated, but is positive to Google, like what he wrote in 2009: “As a result, the Google Trends Top 40 features more “quality” trends instead of spammy keyword manipulation and drive-by search results such as Final Jeopardy! questions and torrent site results.” Trouble is, that was not entirely the truth then, just a view based on his read of what he thinks Google’s doing – he wasn’t a blogger in the habit of mining Google Trends to stay on top of the news cycle.
The real truth has little to do with “spammy sites” and everything to do with lawsuits filed against Google by Rupert Murdoch and The Associated Press in separate cases. The reason is both Murdoch and the AP bosses have considered Google News links to their site a form of “stealing” (forget that the AP routinely actually does steal information from bloggers’ sites without linking to them).
Google has worked tirelessly, it seems, to win over Old Media, but at New Media’s (blogger’s) expense. When I’ve talked with Google people about this, including Marissa Mayer at TechCrunch Disrupt 2010, they refer to the algorithm all the time – but that’s just an expression of a person’s view of how something should work in code form.
In reading accounts of how Google News engineers explain what it does, this, from The Atlantic’s Megan Garber, is telling:
And it has been, all along, tweaking — and tweaking, and tweaking — its algorithm. While Google News is notoriously reticent about the particular elements included in its algorithm, some of its general signals, engineers have said, include: the commonality of a particular story arc; the site an individual story appears on; and a story’s freshness, location, and relevance. The algorithm’s main point, a representative told me, is to sort stories “without regard to political viewpoint or ideology” — and to allow users to choose among “a wide variety of perspectives on any given story.”
Of all of the factors, this – “the site an individual story appears on” – sticks out as the problem. If I post a blog entry here at Zennie62, which is not on Google News but there’s an active application Google has ignored, it does not get posted to Google News. But if I were to post the same entry first at the Examiner or SFGate.com, where I’ve contributed in the past, it gets posted to Google News. Google should change this system so an individual newsworthy post is placed in Google News, regardless of where it came from.
Otherwise, it looks like Google’s protecting a small set of media people at the expense of many. On November 19, 2019, Google kicked a number of very good blogs off Google News all at once including my Blogspot.com blog (this is WordPress). The reason given was they were testing a new code system and that was the result. But the damage was done – some bloggers lost 90 percent of their revenue from that action; I lost 21 percent of revenue because I have a large blog network.
Now, back to the latest news about Google Trends.
According to Google’s blog…
Since we launched Google Trends and Google Insights for Search, we’ve seen millions of people using Trends to keep up with trending interests online, and a range of journalists, businesses and researchers around the world using Insights for Search to compare the popularity of search terms over time and across regions. We have made steady improvements over time, most recently revamping our Hot Searches list to provide richer context for breakout searches.
Now we are merging Insights for Search into Google Trends, wrapping it all up in a clean new interface to give you a clearer view of what’s on the world’s mind. The new Google Trends now includes features from both products and makes it easier and more intuitive to dig into the data. We’ve updated the line chart and map using HTML5 based Google Chart Tools so you can now load the page on your mobile devices, visualize the results without scrolling, and get Hot Searches not just for the U.S., but also India, Japan, and Singapore.
Google Insight For Search Part Of Google Trends
Google merged Google Insight For Search into Google Trends as part of this new version of the tool. What I like about Google Insight For Search is that you can see the intensity of search activity for a term. For example, “Zennie Abraham” had one giant activity period between January 2010 and February 2010 – for some reason. You can track the search popularity of celebrities, politicians, and news events.
This makes Google Trends useable, but the best app would have been achieved by combining the 2008 version of Google Trends with Google Insight For Search.
For this blogger, the trend report at SocialMention.com is the best current app of its kind. SocialMention combines search and social media postings to give a more complete view of what the World’s searching for.
UPDATE: Socialmention once listed over 50 trends – now it’s down to 15. Overall, the picture for the future of free search trend reporting is bleak. You have to be a fat cat to be able to afford the services that are out there now. This is terrible.
The U.S. Congress should take this issue up; the private sector has gone too far.