If you haven’t noticed yet, Google has revamped display on its trends property, to show hot searches by date, accompanied by image thumbnails and relevant headlines. Instead of showing 10 world search trends updated by hour as they did in the past, Google now shows 1-2, sometimes 3 or 4 daily hot searches in the US. The “updated about 1 hour ago” is still there but it may refer to the headlines displayed, rather than referring to the search terms.
Although currently supporting only US hot searches, Google promises to add new countries in the future. This is how the search engine giant explains the move:
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.
Some of the “hot searches” will display a few “related terms,” and a small graph with a count showing how many times that hot topic has been searched. The former Google trends page no longer exists, being completely replaced by then new format.
The change first occurred around 12-13 June, and it appears to be in sync with other changes, including Google Places results now being displayed on Google+ Local, and changes to Google News.
With this new format, it becomes increasingly difficult for sites and blogs to game traffic by covering popular topics. In fact, Google Trends used to display the top 100 world trends in the past, changing the format in time to 20, then 10. The move has obviously a lot to do to delivering quality results in search, particularly in news, instead of “spam.”
Can you still see what are the most popular topics worldwide? Only Google News can give you that insight now, with its Top Stories category.