Google Trends Explore tool gets a facelift

Google Trends Explore tool launches a new interface this week, but is it much better?

Unlike other Google changes, the only people that would notice this update are marketers, researchers and the periodic journalist from time to time.

I’ve examined the new look and feel, as well as features and functionality to see how impactful this change can be. Below is a quick breakdown of what’s changed, and what hasn’t:

New features (mostly look and feel, some functionality)

  • Updated interface: The look and feel has been refined to allow for easier navigation and simpler, single screen viewing of data.
  • Historical data by day: Archived trend data can now be viewed down to the day (upgraded from a month only view). This is perhaps the most important feature update, as we can now customize the range for specific dates when we know events are happening, such as news, sales, and product launches.

custom time range

  • Geographic comparison: Comparing two or more search terms will now show you which terms are stronger by sub region on a single map.

geographic comparison

  • Search term filtering: When comparing two or more search terms, you can individually filter by geography and time.
  • Export to Excel: All of the data components in the trend interface can now be exported to an Excel CSV file.
  • Mobile embed update: Mobile versions of charts for imbedding purposes is now available. 

Features that have been removed (and likely won’t be missed)

  • News & Forecast buttons: Users can no longer view “notable” news stories on your trend line nor can you forecast future search interest. We’ve found that this feature has typically been unavailable over the last few months.
  • Trending over time (MAP): The feature, which would allow you to view the geographic search interest changes over time, has also been removed. This feature was interesting for some very high volume searches, but also seemed to be pretty inconsistent.

Consistent features (under the surface, still the same)

  • Trend results: Results (the actual data) appear to have remained unchanged. It looks like you still get different results for pretty similar terms, plurals and misspellings.

trend results

  • Individual search term details: The ability to look at geographic search term performance as well as rising/top related queries remains intact.
  •  Share & embed: Users can still share the results on social media as well as embed the charts on HTML pages.

Overall the new Google Trends tool just looks better, rather than being a total overhaul. But it does feature some improved functionality and everything useless has been removed.

Despite all the changes, it’s still the same basic tool inside.

Michael Gauld is the VP/Director of Search Marketing at DigitasLBi. The article was co-authored with Robert Knapp, Associate Director of Search Marketing.

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