Google Releases Correlate Tool
In its goal to accumulate and make sense of the world's information, Google released a new tool this week that makes it easier to get correlations between sets of data. Using a drawn chart, the Google Correlate page allows you to match a particular curve with the frequency that a certain term appears in search queries on the web. By going to the site and manually drawning a curve, you get a result of search terms that match your curve over the last couple of years. This could be products, ideas or anything people typically search for.
But this tool accepts more than just random curves. You can also input data sets. This can be random data you make up, or structured data you take from somewhere else. For example, by looking for terms that match the winter wave, which corresponds with when winter typically hits the US each year, you can find things that people search for in direct relation, such as the common cold. By analyzing these waves, we can not only see past trends, but predict the future based on those trends. Or, if you want to search for products that were strong in a particular period of time, you can easily draw a curve that corresponds to that, and find terms that match the curve.
The result shows you a percentage of match for each of the term, and allows you to go from one term to the next to see how close the two curves match up. Right now, the search giant provides data that was gathered between 2003 and now, updated weekly. You can also limit your searches to the US or a particular state. There are countless uses possible with such a powerful tool, such as finding out the best release window for a product based on what people look for, or how particular curves change from one state to the next.