You may have noticed it's easy to get tripped up measuring the wrong thing using Google Trends. When you look up "rice," are you measuring search interest in Rice University or the rice you eat? When you look up "Gwyneth Paltrow" how can you be sure you're counting all the common misspellings? Starting today, you'll find new topic reports to help you more easily measure search interest in the people, places and things you care about.

In the past, if you wanted to compare search interest in Rice and Harvard, you might get a report something like this:

Now when you start typing into the search box you'll see new topic predictions. Type "rice" and you'll see predictions for "Rice University (University)" and "Rice (Cereal)." This makes it easy to do a fairer comparison.

In addition to helping with ambiguous search terms like "rice," the new feature also automates counting many different searches that probably mean the same thing. So, when you measure interest in "Gwyneth Paltrow (Actress)" our algorithms count many other searches that mean the same thing "Gweneth Paltrow," "Gwen Paltro," etc. As our systems improve, we may even count searches like "Lead actress in Iron Man." This can be particularly useful for topics that are commonly searched with misspellings and in different languages.

Topic reports are a beta feature and we want to get your feedback. To start, you'll find data for more than 700,000 unique topics from Barack Obama to football (soccer) to Hayao Miyazaki, and you can slice the data to measure search interest worldwide or in any of the following seven countries: Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, UK, and US. We'll continue to improve the accuracy and comprehensiveness of the data, and as we do we'll add topics and expand to support new regions.

Posted by Gil Ran, Software Engineer