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Ever wanted to know what the most popular Google Search terms are? Or trace the popularity of a search term over time? Well, you're in luck!

Google Trends is a web service that allows you to analyze the popularity of search queries in Google Search over time and geographic location. The results are presented in a series of graphs and maps to allow you to easily compare and analyze them. It doesn't allow you to dive deep into the data for complex research projects but it is a fun tool that lets you skim the surface of Google Search and get an overview of the popularity of search queries.

For more information on using Google Trends for research, check out this article from the Pew Research Center.

Using Google Trends

Once you have entered your search term you have options to customize your results. Using drop down menus you can adjust the date range, geographical region, type of Google search used and also compare more than one search term.

Google Trends

This simple example shows the worldwide results for the search query, "Olympics" since 2004. The graph below shows large spikes in popularity every four years coinciding with the dates of the Summer Olympics, and smaller spikes coinciding with the date of the Winter Olympics.

Google Trends Graph

Important note: the highest result is assigned a value of '100'. All other results are scaled relative to this highest result (ie. a month with half as many search queries for "Olympics" as the highest one will be given a value of '50')

You can also view the results broken up by region on a choropleth map of the world or individual country. Again, the highest result is given a value of '100' and all other results are scaled relative to this one.

Google Trends Map