Wikimatix explains Google’s hot search trends

August 16th, 2008

Who is alisyn camerota and why are so many people suddenly interested in her?

Pundits often describe the Web as humanity’s giant, collective brain. So what are we thinking about today? Yesterday UMBC PhD student Akshay Java launched a new service, Wikimatix, that shows the Google’s 100 hot search terms for the past hour and tries to explain each with information extracted from Wikipedia.

At the top of his form, Akshay whipped up the system in a three hour break from writing his dissertation as a mashup of Google’s Hot Trends, Wikipedia, and Disqus.

Google’s hot trends gives an hourly list of the 100 Google search queries whose frequency has increased relative to the recent past. When you scan the list, the meaning of many of these is obvious — Michael Phelps or hurricane fay. But who or what is alisyn camerota and what’s up with the interest in opossum. Here’s where Wikimatix helps by annotating each of the hot terms with a snippet about it extracted from Wikipedia, along with links to the full article, a search for blog posts about the topic, and a place for users to add comments.

Here’s an example that shows some of the hot search trends from earlier this morning.

Screenshot from Wikimatix explaining Google hot search trends

Akshay’s post, Wikimatix: Wikify and Disqus Hot Search Keywords, has the details and ideas for improving the service.