Searching for a recurring planned event such as “Xmas”, we can see a slow rise up until the event, followed by a relatively sharp drop.
A search for “Oscars” shows a rise during March. The drop is not as sharp, arguably because there’s a lot to discuss in the aftermath of the Academy Awards.
For natural breaking news events, such as the South-East Asian Tsunami of late 2004, we can see an almost reverse curve. There are little searches on “tsunami” before the event, a lot of searches when the news break, and there’s a slow decline in search frequency afterwards. (The Google Trends data is normalized, so we don’t really know how many searches on “tsunami” there were before late 2004.)
In the search frequency curve for “skiing”, we can see a typical seasonal interest during the end of the year – there’s a steady rise towards winter time and a steady decline towards summer.
A similar curve can be seen searching for simply “February”. (The drop is a bit sharper than the previous example, so the lines to the “known events” category is blurred here.)
The frequency of searches for “camera” is almost steady throughout time. However, you can see small peaks occurring during Xmas and New Year’s celebrations. (This might be due to cameras being presented as Xmas gifts, or cameras being bought to photograph the celebrations, or both.)
In a search for “games” we can see an evergreen with almost the same activity throughout time. (A minor peak occurred during the 2006 Olympic Winter Games.)
The search volume for the term “Digg”, the social news sites which has overtaken Slashdot by some measurements (including Google Trends search volume), shows a slow rise to fame.
The search volume for one-hit wonder “William Hung”, on the other hand, shows a slow but steady drop to oblivion.
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