Have you tried using Google Insights yet to establish a trend in popularity for a particular search term? By allowing you to see the relative volume of searches made over any period of time (which you can define) for any number of search terms you care to compare, you can really do some cool trending analysis.
I was playing around with it recently trying to validate my assumptions about rising popularity trends for Drupal and some of its closest alternative open source CMS options: Joomla and Plone.
I was pleasantly surprised to find the trends as expected.
It was interesting to see how Drupal has really shot up in popularity over the last two years. It was a bit disappointing however to see the same trend – though in greater volume – for Joomla, a tool we have used plenty but consider to be inferior as a platform for real development. None the less, they both outpaced the searches for Plone which showed very flat results and little trending at all over time.
This was comforting because I had recently made claims about the uneven pace of growth in popularity for Drupal and Joomla vs. Plone based upon anectodal evidence that I can now back up with graphs – the ultimate proof for skeptics.
An unexpected bi-product of my search was the fact that the 2nd ranked news item tied to Drupal was Thomson Reuters Releases Calais 2.0 with Support for WordPress, Drupal and Yahoo! Search’s New SearchMonkey Developer Platform
This release and subsequent press coverage had included the announcement of Calais support for Drupal using the module we wrote. This was plotted side by side with the chart indicating a major milestone in news (and presumably search results) for Drupal. It was followed by a significant spike in searches for Drupal, which could be coincidence or perhaps increased interest due to the prominence of the mention? See Milestone D. below.
Okay maybe I am reading into it too much and having a bit too much fun with it now, but it is only because I can no longer remember who I argued about Drupal/Plone trends with anymore. Still, now I have a graph to prove it!