(Hopefully) Helpful Hint: What’s Going On?

News and gossip have been binding people together for centuries and the rise of the Internet has only made it more convenient to keep up with what everybody else is talking about. From social media to search engines, it’s easy to see what’s setting the world abuzz on any given day.

For example, Twitter users can search hashtags or keep an eye on the trending topics list within the service. Likewise, Facebook officially added a Trending topics list to its News Feed page earlier this year, which clickable links to go read about Gwyneth Paltrow’s marital state or The Walking Dead season finale.

Geeks all know we can go to Techmeme.com to see the technology news neatly aggregating all in one place, but what about the work beyond tech? Microsoft’s Bing search engine has also gotten into the act, nicking a Trends list from Twitter and Facebook and Yahoo News has a Trending Now blog. It makes sense for search engines to know what’s trending, since people are using them to look up and follow the news.

Trends2But if there’s any company that’s devoted server space to trending topics, it’s Google. The Big G has a dedicated Trends page and its Zeitgeist list of what people searched for each year. The company also offers in-depth looks at topics like March Madness or global interest in Game of Thrones or the Harry Potter series, and even a downloadable screensaver showing real-time searches in the United States. Suffice it to say, Google knows how to keep an eye on these things and is probably already working on an algorithm to detect trends within trends.

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