Google just launched an interesting new tool: Google Correlate. It is currently available in beta in Google Labs. The tool enables you to find queries with a similar pattern to a target data series. In other words: it does what Google Trends does, but in reverse.
The tool could very well be an interesting tool for SEOs doing keyword research, but is primarily intended for researchers. On their blog Google states that the tool is designed for researchers to see what terms best match the current trends in real life.
What you can do for example is type in “wedding” and the tool will give you a subset of keywords with the highest correlation. It then shows a graph of US Web Search activity for wedding and the correlated words, in the example below it is “wedding guest”. The recent marriage in the UK clearly has had its affect.
But a better example might be the one Google gives themselves. They used the feature to upload your own data series, which makes it really useful. In the example Google used, they uploaded official flu activity data from the U.S. CDC over the last several years. They founda similar pattern to actual flu rates:
Another ‘cool’ feature is “Search by Drawing“. Here you can draw a curve, hit ‘Correlate!’ and find query terms whose popularity over time matches the shape you drew. This is not very useful, but fun to do. I accidentally drawed a line which correlated well with “ads by Google”. Go figure…
The tool can really help you get an insight into what people are interested in in what period of time, without having to type in keywords all the time. The problem with the tool is that you a) have to know what data you want to use to make it useful and b) have to work with US data. Now for you US people out there that is not a problem. For Europeans however the data for now is interesting to look at but not yet trustworthy enough when it comes to targeting Europe.