(Phys.org) —Google Trends has added a new service to its mix, where users can enter email subscriptions for Google Trends, and can be sent notifications on topics of interest, showing them what is popular around the web now and in the past. The email notification service offers people signing up to be notified by email periodically about the popularity of specified search terms.
Google software engineer Gavri Smith announced Friday on the official Google Search blog, "Inside Search titled "The hottest topics on Google delivered directly to your inbox." Smith wrote, "Starting today, it's easier to get just the right insights at just the right time with email notifications. You can now "Subscribe" to any search topic, Hot Searches for any country, or any U.S. monthly Top Chart." For example, he said, he lived in the U.K. for three years and he set up an email notification to tell him about the "hottest" Hot Searches in the U.K. Smith said "You can also subscribe to email notifications about search interest in any topic you'd like." People can either keep up with the searches realtime, or take a historical look at trends dating back to 2004. Should a subscriber decide the notifications are getting too noisy then Google has a remedy for that too. If the user thinks there are too many notifications to handle easily, an "unsubscribe" link is to be provided in every email, said Smith, "or you can manage your preference on the Trends website in the new 'subscriptions' section."
Google Trends, taking the pulse of what captures people's attention, has over time gained traction and scientific interest as an information tool. Google Trends can track what terms Google users are searching for in a given period. An article last year in New Scientist said the anonymized, aggregate data is compiled from 100 billion searches every month. Marketers find it a useful, SEO tool for building Internet marketing campaigns, Economists and product managers make use of the way Google Trends responds to search interests across different dimensions.
Scientific studies have made Google Trends a topic in and of itself, in assessing effective information analysis. Scientific Reports, a research publication from the publishers of Nature, last year carried a study "Quantifying Trading Behavior in Financial Markets Using Google Trends." The authors suggested new data sources resulting from human interaction with the Internet "may offer a new perspective on the behavior of market participants in periods of large market movements." Analyzing changes in Google query volumes for search terms related to finance, they saw patterns that may be interpreted as "early warning signs" of stock market moves.
A research paper published online earlier this year in Tobacco Control, owned by BMJ, explored "Monitoring of non-cigarette tobacco use using Google Trends." The authors sought to validate "whether Google Trends can additionally detect regional trends in youth and adult tobacco use." The results of their study, said the authors, "validate that Google Trends has the potential to be a valuable monitoring tool for tobacco use. The near real-time monitoring features of Google Trends may complement traditional surveillance methods and lead to faster and more convenient monitoring of emerging trends in tobacco use."
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