Google has just announced a significant upgrade to one of the least well-known of its services. Launched last year, Insights for Search allows you to look at statistics for how different search terms have changed in popularity over time.
Although aimed advertisers looking to optimise the keywords they use in Google AdWords ads, the statistics it gives are useful to anyone interested in how people use the world’s favourite search engine. For example, looking at “The Next Web” reveals searches for that phrase increase five-fold around our annual conference. You can also see current popular search terms (Michael Jackson and Facebook are big right now) and view information about how people search in different parts of the world.
Today’s upgrade, announced in a post on Google’s main blog, includes support for 39 languages, the ability to see a forecast for how searching might change in the future and a pretty fancy animated map that shows how interest in different topics changes over time across the world. Data can be added as a widget in your iGoogle page (so you can easily keep an eye on it) and charts can be embedded into your own webpages. See Google’s example of the popularity of searches for Twitter as an example of the new features.
This isn’t a service for everyone, but it’s great that Google offers the ability to analyse their search data for your own benefit; whether that be as an advertiser, researcher or just someone curious to see which country likes searching most for the word “donkeys” (it’s Pakistan, apparently).
Google has published this video to explain today’s new features further.