Google has its “zeitgeist” feature which allows you to take the pulse of most popular search terms for the week, month, or even year; Baidu has a similar feature called “list of hottest Chinese searches” 中文搜索风云榜. Neither are particularly intuitive to me, frankly, since they both divide the search terms into strange categories–e.g., Google’s “spring break” list in April 2006. On the bad side Baidu doesn’t do a weekly or monthly tally; on the good side they include the actual number of searches per day.
Baidu’s rankings also offer the following:
a scrolling list of some of today’s actual searches, interesting to watch and see what rolls by, and clickable if you see something you like.
Top 50 Gaining Searches today. I guess these could help you track searches that have just come up even if the number of people doing the search is relatively small. For instance, today’s top gaining search is “answers to June 2006 level six” 2006年6月六级答案, or in other words, the answers to a recent test for sixth graders, with 14,212 searches. The second gaining search is “answers to English 2006 level four.” Lots of students using Baidu.
Top 50 “hot searches,” which also indicates whether the search traffic is going up or down. Doesn’t say what this means, since these are not the terms with the most searches overall, necessarily. At the top of the list today is “Audition,” 劲舞团, a Korean online game, with 99,448 hits and declining. Second: “Popkart Crazy Racing,” also a Korean game. Third: qq (the Chinese online messaging platform). Fourth: World Cup. Fifth: mp3.
Top Ten Hot Women, Television Shows, Games, Songs, Novels, People, Publically Traded Companies, Hot Men, Cartoons, Universities, Cars, and Scenic Places. If you look through these you’ll find searches with more traffic than the #1 “Hot Search,” such as singer Jay Chou with over 206,000 today; the song “Perfume Can Be Poison” at 268,281; and actress Liu Yifei at 148,922.
Update: Jason points out that Google Zeitgeist also shows monthly results for its Chinese language searches–it’s unclear whether this is limited to .cn searches or also includes off-mainland Chinese searches. It looks like Google users really are a different group than Baidu users, older and more professional as has been suggested by the CNNIC China Online Search Market report: the political term “Eight Honors Eight Shames” 八荣八耻 is number one for April. #2: Li Yuchun, Supergirl singing contest winner; #3: Kartrider; #4:Jinshan software dictionary; #5: China Merchants Bank. Link.