An interesting tool has been launched by Google which allows you to view trends for selected keywords.
Called ‘Google Trends’, you can enter one or more keywords and see how the search volumes have changed over the past couple of years. Potentially extremely useful for identifying seasonal peaks and troughs (a quick test on ‘christmas presents‘ reveals a very unsuprising peak prior to Christmas, but demonstrates the feature very well).
Also available are details on the top cities, regions and languages for the phrases that you wish to research. As with Google Finance, related news is published alongside the graph which can help explain some peaks.
Perhaps the best feature is the ability to compare up to 5 different terms, which can reveal some interesting changes in how users are searching for the same products / services.
Certainly an interesting tool and useful at quickly viewing longer term trends although it would be nice to see actual search volume figures, which are currently not displayed. Results are also only shown for search terms with over 100 searches per month, so it is not very helpful if you are operating in a very small niche market with low search volumes.