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Earlier yesterday, Google launched an update of the Google Trends homepage for their Hot Searches list, along with a massive redesign of the available data that it provides in Hot Trends.
As of this morning, the Google Trends homepage now provides a Top 10 list of Hot Searches with 3-4 trends per day (each trend is annotated with the date it was “hot”), that go back several days.
Stylistically, the Trends homepage remains essentially unchanged, although it looks like they’ve still got some formatting to work out. However, the Hot Searches page is virtually unrecognizable from its previous incarnation. Here is what the page looked like before today:
And here is what the page looks like today:
The layout is much more in sync with the recent changes to Google News and seems on par with the clean, white look of Google+. A few immediate items that register about this layout:
- Hot Trends does not appear to be updating on an hourly basis anymore, although this could be due to today being the launch date.
- The Hot Searches list of 3-4 items mimics the list seen on the Google Trends homepage.
- Each trend now only receives two news items with a text headline and an image that links to a third news item, rather than a multitude of news articles and blog posts.
- The trending search item can be shared via Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.
- Trend topics may or may not have “related searches” keywords.
- There is no longer an hour-by-hour trending graph.
One of the bigger changes that may be the most relevant for news websites that rely on Hot Searches for coverage topics is the update from the more ambiguous “Mild-to-Volcanic” scale in determining the hotness of a topic to the much more transparent count of how many times that topic has been searched. Though the color scale of yellow-to-red still seems to be there, news outlets can now see numbers to help them decide whether a Hot Search is worth covering.
In the Google Trends About information, a new line has been added that comments on this update, which certainly confirms the immediate changes in visible layout and formatting:
“In June 2012, we launched a new look for Hot Searches, which provides images and direct links to the relevant news articles. This highly engaging list replaced the drilldown page, which was available in the previous versions. In the process of the redesign, we have also introduced a filtering system that helps us surface only the truly hottest stories of the day. In addition, the new list provides an indication on how many searches have been conducted on each topic. The new look is currently reflecting U.S. search data. Additional countries will be added in the future.”
It’s unfortunate that Google continues to reduce the number of Hot Search trends it is willing to share. Before it was condensed down to 20, remember when the Hot Trends list had 100 topics at any given time? Now with this new Hot Searches revamp, we are down to three topics at any given time, and they are more than likely not going to change hour-to-hour.
Hopefully, much like many of the current updates happening with Google, this is a work in progress, and we’ll be given a more robust list of Hot Searches in the near future. In the meantime, as an alternative, although it’s a pale comparison, there is always the Top 10 “Trending on Google+” list.