Search By Drawing: Google Correlate Matches Trend Graphs with Search Terms

Google Correlate, which reverses the Google Trends process of inputting a keyword and viewing the trend to drawing a trend and viewing the keyword, has officially graduated out of Google Labs. 

Launched in May, Correlate can now be found on the Google Trends page. Correlate lets you draw a trend pattern graph without actually knowing which search terms the graph will correspond with. Correlate then analyzes the pattern and populates a list with the most correlated terms. (See Google's comic explanation.)

In July, just a few months after Larry Page took over as CEO, Google announced it would begin phasing out its experimental prototype generator Google Labs. At the time, Google Correlate was still in the Lab and questions remained over which products would get greenlighted. 

Although Google Labs is shutting down, Gmail Labs and Maps Labs remain in operation. 

In 2008, Google realized search patterns could provide insight into how the flu spread and flu activity worldwide. In comparing search trends to actual flu time series, Google Flu Trends was born.

Google Flu Trends' model of using search term frequency to determine
and report, in real-time, increased interest in information about the flu, which is correlated with flu incidents. This can be up to two weeks faster than the Center for Disease Control's Influenza Sentinel Provider Surveillance Network, which collects data on the total number of patients with flu-like symptoms. But "correlation is not causation," as Google points out repeatedly in its comic explanation of Correlate and its Correlate white paper.  

Correlate was developed using the same approach as Google Flu Trends.

Users on Twitter and Hacker News have had "great fun" playing with Correlate finding search term trends.

What trends have you found? Post in the comments. 

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