Google Trends: The Video Show
As if to underscore the video-fication of all content, Google launched an informational video series last week called Google Beat. The weekly show lasts only a minute and a half. As a brand extension, it is nicely done, especially for the usually ham-handed Google. The lovely hostess Anne Espiritu stands before an oddly decorated backdrop of assorted furniture on a Google-white stage. Googling and the trends it reveals is the topic at hand. Each show will highlight and explain some of the top search trends for the week.
The first episode (dated August 27) reveals that 'egg recall' was among the hottest search terms as onliners used the engine to track news about the Salmonella outbreaks affecting eggs. There was a 4000% increase in use of the 'eggs recall list' term. Also trending was Miss Universe winner 'Jimena Navarrete.' The pageant also inspired searches for 'Miss Philippines 2010' since that contestant apparently had a rambling interview response that bore repeating. And interestingly, the 90th anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, giving women the vote, produced an enormous spike in that search term.
According to the blog post announcing the new show, Google is using its own Google Trends, Google Insights for Search and other tools to gather the data and offer a snapshot. The show provides a bit more context than simple lists, but it would also be helpful if the dedicated channel page at YouTube also had links to deeper resources and the full lists of hot terms.
The show is aiming for a general audience even as much of the underlying data tends to be of greatest interest to marketing and media professionals. Right now the content seems to be more of interest to trivia buffs than to anyone looking for insight.
But what does Google's new show produce for Google?
Well, no doubt it follows the brand's basic reasoning in all of its outreach efforts; anything that increases and encourages Web use is good for the world's biggest search engine. The show effectively extends the good Super Bowl commercials that portray the otherwise cold-looking practice of entering text in a from box as a very human act of curiosity and utility. The producers also know enough also to keep it short and sweet. A 90-second span is about right for this kind of drive-by activity, although it is unclear how and whether or not Google will promote it.
The channel has about 1500 subscribers. Arguably, a weekly schedule does not offer enough fodder for search analysts, and the light scrape of trends could even prove too shallow and uninteresting even for the general viewer. But Google Beat clearly is part of general trend at the brand to break from its geeky tech image and make its product more human, more interesting than it may have seemed in the past.