As of this writing, something interesting is going on with Google Trends: the top listed trend is for “Good Morning America,” but the results are all over the place, and days old. Could the Worldwide Google Trend now really be for news that happened one day ago, and beyond? And what about Fran Drescher?
Without absolute evidence, this blogger will engage in a thought experiment. Let’s say that Google Trends indeed “Reflects what keywords people are searching for on a daily basis.” But, from daily use experience with Google Trends, it looks like what used to be a real-time sensitive device, has been dialed back a bit in some way.
I assert this, because in the recent past, Google Trends has been a great barometer of what’s “hot” now. But for much of the last two months, it’s reliability has been questionable, at best. But before I continue, what’s the deal with actress Fran Drescher?
Well, Fran Drescher got a divorce from Peter Marc Jacobson, the executive producer of her new show called Happily Divorced. The show itself recounts their time together in a fictionalized way, leading up to the time he tells her, on the show, as in real life, that he’s Gay.
On Good Morning America on Tuesday, Fran Drescher said that the two remain good friends, and have even found men for each other.
All well and good, but that doesn’t explain why Good Morning America and for a time today, Fran Drescher, have been top trends on Google, with “Good Morning America” leading the pack as of mid-day in the East?
Indeed, “Good Morning America” isn’t even today’s most – read story over at Huffington Post, which claims the lead post on Google Trends for the key word “Good Morning America.”
The only explanation for this development I can come up with is that Google Trends has been dialed back so that, unless the topic reaches a “volcanic” level of search, the system tends to reflect recent past, rather than current trends.
It’s a way, I think, of throwing off bloggers, and helps big media brands set the tone for their topics of the day. Is it right to do? No, not at all. It’s wrong.
The perfect system should show us what the true search terms are, at any moment, even if they have the word “sex” in them.
That points to a time, early in Google Trends history, when the top search terms were related to sex all the time. That is, until Google engineers figured out a way to eliminate sex from gumming up news-related search objectives.
The Wild West
Right now, with Google essentially gaming search because of fears that others will game search, coupled with their desire to help large media brands, and not small bloggers, Google Trends can’t be said to be a reliable tool if the reading for a search term is below the “volcanic” level. Once a term is at the level, Google Trends works as it should.
So, if you’re about to blog something regarding Fran Drescher, based on Google Trends think twice – it’s old news. The alternative? Well, check the front page of two of the largest news aggregators in the business: The Huffington Post and The Drudge Report.