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This article was published on March 20, 2013

Google Trends gains YouTube search data going back to 2008, lets you limit results to just videos

Google Trends gains YouTube search data going back to 2008, lets you limit results to just videos Image by: AFP
Emil Protalinski
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Emil Protalinski

Emil was a reporter for The Next Web between 2012 and 2014. Over the years, he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, incl Emil was a reporter for The Next Web between 2012 and 2014. Over the years, he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars Technica, Neowin, TechSpot, ZDNet, and CNET. Stay in touch via Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Google on Wednesday announced it has expanded Google Trends to encompass data from YouTube, going all the way back to 2008. This means you can now not only see results from Google searches (broken down by either Web, Image, News, or Product) but also from YouTube searches.

For those who don’t know, Google Trends lets you search to find and explore traffic patterns over time and geography. The addition of YouTube means you can examine trends of popular videos (yes, even memes) on the Internet.

For example, here’s the trend of “Harlem Shake” so far this year from Web searches on Google:

google_trends_hs

Here’s the same query limited to YouTube’s search function (in the left-hand panel under “Limit to,” choose “YouTube”):

youtube_trends_hs

There’s not much of a difference because many people were of course Googling to find out what “Harlem Shake” is and how the whole YouTube craze started. If you’ve been following the goat scream craze, here’s a better comparison for you:

cat_dog_goat

Google acquired YouTube for $1.65 billion in 2006, so it’s not clear why the data is limited to 2008. We would guess, however, that the company probably started tracking search queries to improve the results five years ago, and hence the seemingly arbitrary limit.

While YouTube hasn’t been a particularly profitable acquisition for Google, it has definitely been a very smart one. There may be other video sharing websites out there (such as Vimeo), but YouTube is still by far the most popular, much like Google dominates search.

This is why the inclusion of YouTube in Google Trends is such a big addition. Although the service doesn’t give you a complete picture of what is popular and what isn’t on the Internet, since it is limited to just Google, it’s still a very big (and thus fairly accurate) snapshot. Thanks to its size, the same can also be said for YouTube.

See also – Google launches leaderboard to highlight the ads that YouTube users actually stayed around to watch and YouTube’s redesigned ‘One Channel’ layout is now available for all users

Top Image Credit: Eric Piermont/Getty Images

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