Can Google show how many times a phrase has been searched for?
November 12, 2005 6:48 PM   Subscribe

A friend is trying to find a Google resource that allows one to see the number of times a phrase has been searched for recently.

For instance, a place where one can find out that say "White Stripes" has been searched 1,000,000 times in the past few months, but "White Lion" has only been searched for 10 times. He saw it being used in an office and is not sure how it was done. He thinks it was done on the Google site itself (as opposed to say an extension on Firefox) since the word Beta was on the display. I can't seem to find any service like that when poking through Google's pages.
posted by kongg to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Maybe not exactly what you are looking for, but Google Zeitgeist and Yahoo Buzz pick out some highlights.
posted by cushie at 7:54 PM on November 12, 2005

aside from the google zeitgeist, you could go through the steps of creating an adwords ad (click on "advertising" at the bottom of the google home page). The process includes a CPC estimator which tells you how many times each day people click ads with the keywords you specify. It's not exactly what you're looking for, but you can compare different search terms (assuming a somewhat constant clickthrough rate).
posted by i love cheese at 8:11 PM on November 12, 2005

Not Google, but Yahoo's inventory tool should be good enough.
posted by trevyn at 9:12 PM on November 12, 2005

Surely you're thinking of google suggest, but if so, you're confused about what it shows. It doesn't tell you how many times the term has been search, only how many results there are for the term.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 11:04 PM on November 12, 2005

posted by thejimp at 6:34 AM on November 13, 2005

Just to piggyback on this questionl; There used to be a site that showed an up to minutelisting of what people were searching for on google. It feels like I'm asking the same question...
posted by Botunda at 7:41 AM on November 13, 2005

Google Suggest is what he saw, tho I will recommend that he try Nichebot and the Yahoo inventory tool, too. Thank you.

Follow up question on Google Suggest: What exactly does their "results" number mean? For instance when you type the word "apple" in regular Google, it has 350,000,000 results. When you type it in Suggest it has 93,700,000 results.

Similarly I tried Suggest for a series of common words that ordinarily wouldn't be searched together, "apple radar biscuit". Suggest had zero results, but regular Google had 136,000 results.

It does seem like the Suggest results number is based on the number of times the phrase has been searched (but over what period of time, I have no idea).

The official Suggest FAQ doesn't state what their results are based on. This commentator says Suggest uses "PageRank weighted usages of words throughout the internet to come up with the most likely guesses for what you're looking for, as well as drawing data from the 'aggregate popularity' of Google searches, like the Google Zeitgeist."

I'm guessing the suggested phrases while you type is based on PageRank, while numeric results are based on aggregate popularity.
posted by kongg at 7:55 AM on November 13, 2005

I'm talking to myself now, and I apologize:

I'm guessing the suggested phrases while you type is based on PageRank, while numeric results are based on aggregate popularity.

It's very likely the reverse is true. It looks like Google hasn't said what Suggest results are based on. I see it's a common question on the Suggest discussion group, with no definitive answer.

People have noted that results figures are often in the same numeric ballpark for both plain Google and Suggest. And if you do a Suggest search for only 1 result will occur, and certainly more that one person has searched for
posted by kongg at 8:37 AM on November 13, 2005

MetaSpy lets you know what people are searching for on Metacrawler.

Metacrawler is a holdover from the days when there was not one clear choice for a web search engine - weird, huh? It would aggregate the results from a bunch of different search engines for you.
posted by ikkyu2 at 7:41 PM on November 13, 2005

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