Google's top dog for last month was, once again, the pitbull. Having taken the title for most-searched breed away from the bulldog in January, the pit has stayed in the top spot for the past four months, but the German Shepherd is looking to make a move after overtaking the Siberian Husky to advance to the No. 4 position.
At least, this is what I was able to learn from my first five minutes using the just-launched Top Charts feature of Google Trends. An expansion of Google's annual Zeitgeist report of most-searched topics, Top Charts has monthly search data and rankings for dozens of categories from actors (Selena Gomez took No. 1 for April) to businesspeople (Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are both gaining on Oprah) and even whiskeys (Jack Daniel's dominates).
Although it's just launching today, the search data goes back years, all the way to the heady days of 2004, when the world was apparently more interested in Labrador Retrievers than pitbulls or bulldogs.
The data is pulled from Google's Knowledge Graph, which ties keyword searches to actual real-world things. Here's how Google explained it on its main blog:
When you look at a chart of sports teams and you see the Golden State Warriors, those rankings are based on many different related searches, like [gs warriors], [golden state bball] and [warriors basketball]. That way you see which topics are most popular on Google Search, however people search for them.
In the post, software engineer Roni Rabin also notes that no algorithm is perfect, and anomalies may pop up in the charts from time to time. Certainly those anomalies could include trouble distinguishing between homophones like, say, pitbull the breed and Pit Bull the rapper. Perhaps it's time Labrador Retrievers fielded a hip-hop artist to reclaim their previous search glory.
Also launching today is a new full-screen visualization for current trending searches. Designed to look like a screensaver of sorts, you can view 1 to 25 constantly changing trending searches in all languages. It's a neat, colorful visual display, but I found 25 constantly morphing squares of hot searches in multiple languages to be a headache-inducing strobe light of data.
I find it much more relaxing to head over to Google Images and search for "Atari Breakout."
What trending search categories would you like to see Google add to Top Charts?