By mid-afternoon, the hottest search trend in the U.S. was for one "Joseph Lau." A quick click on the term itself took users to a page with "related searches, a search volume graph, and the top cities." According to a Google FAQ, "We also display news, blog and web results to help give context about why a search may be appearing on the Hot Trends list today."
OK. Joseph Lau was apparently hot because the Hong Kong billionaire had just ordered a new Boeing VIP airplane for himself. Queries peaked at noon, with 6% of them from New York City.
We were intrigued enough to inquire as to the identity of the #2 hottie - Kassie Depaiva. Turns out she's a star of "One Life to Live," and that searches for her name peaked while she was guest-hosting yesterday's episode of ABC-TV's "The View."
And on it went. Trend #3, for instance, was "Kimberly Buffington." She's Dennis Quaid's wife and it was announced yesterday that she's expecting twins and they'll be delivered by another woman.
Reuters, for one, called Google's new service a "more scientific turn" for "the art of trend-spotting." Dictionary.com, though, defines "trend" as "the general course or prevailing tendency." Since it's highly doubtful that Joseph, Kassie or Kimberly will become the next O.J., Britney, or Obama, I prefer to think of "Hot Trends" as "Today's Temporary Popularity Spikes." And a great keyword tool for really quick search engine optimizers.
Whatever the name, Google Hot Trends is certainly fun. After all, who could resist researching the rest of yesterday's top 10: "jack carter," "tanzania national park," "clinton portis," "tessa horst," "danny of radio days," "harry belafonte's daughter" and "bevin powers"?
We were frankly a little surprised that, with all the news coverage, "Google's Hot Trends" itself didn't make the list. But wait a second. "Google Trends" just came in at # 93. Stop the presses!