A unique feature of Google Finance is its "Domestic Trends" function. This lets you see how often keywords related to certain business sectors are searched for on Google's famous search engine, Google Search. From there, you can compare the search volume of those keywords with the market performance of companies in that business sector. Who knows… you might see a pattern that will give you a hint about where (not) to invest your money next!
To view Google Finance's Domestic Trends, first go to www.google.com/finance in your web browser. Then, click Google Domestic Trends, and then choose a business sector that you want to see trends for from the list underneath. Let's click Furniture as an example.
How to read Google Finance Domestic Trends
Google Finance Domestic Trends shows you the relative search volume of keywords that have to do with a particular business sector on Google Search. So, for our "Furniture" example, Domestic Trends shows you the relative number of times people have used Google Search to look for words like "furniture", "chair", "clock", "carpet", "IKEA" (a major furniture company), and so on.
(NOTE: You will need to have Adobe Flash Player installed on your computer to see the interactive graph. If you don't have Adobe Flash Player installed, or don't know if you do, see this help article to learn how to check for and install Adobe Flash Player.)
We say "relative" because Google Finance measures the search volume of those keywords against everything else that is searched for on Google Search. This means that a rise or drop in the relative search volume of a particular sector doesn't necessarily mean that that sector is being searched for any more or any less than it currently is. It simply means that its searches make up a larger or smaller proportion of everything that everyone is looking for on Google Search. Also note that all of the statistics on Google Finance Domestic Trends are only for searches on Google Search that originate in the United States.
Anyway, all relative search volumes start at a value of 1, beginning on January 1st, 2004, and fluctuate from there. So, in the example screenshot above, we can see that the relative search volume of the furniture industry has overall been steadily decreasing. However, if we look closer, we can see that it bottoms out at around 2010, and then seems to pick back up a little. Let's investigate this.
In the top-left corner of the graph, you can click the links beside "Zoom" to see relative search volumes for the past year, the past five years, the past 10 years, and at every point in time since January 1st, 2004, respectively.
You can also change the time frame manually by clicking and holding the mouse button down on one of the two handles at the edge of the timeline, dragging it to the time that you want to start or end viewing from, and releasing the mouse button. You may do the same with the other one, if you wish. Then, you can use the scroll bar at the bottom to view different points on the graph while staying within the same length of time.
So, if we change the timeline to view the relative search volume of the furniture industry from its low point in 2010 until now, we can see that it has actually rebounded a little bit.
What does that mean in terms of how the furniture industry is doing? One way to find out is to directly compare the relative search volume of the industry to the market performance of some of the major companies in the industry.
How to compare Google Finance Domestic Trends to market performance
To compare a company's market performance to an industry's relative search volume, click in the box beside "Compare" in the top-left corner of the graph, type in the name of the company or its stock market handle (a list of suggestions will appear to help you out), select one, and then click Add. Let's try adding La-Z-Boy Furniture.
Now, from this 5-year period graph, we can see that the low point in relative search volume on Google Search for the furniture industry (represented by the blue line) matches with a drop in performance for La-Z-Boy's stocks (represented by the red line). Similarly, as search traffic has picked back up for furniture, La-Z-Boy's market performance has recovered as well.
Let's try this once more by adding Pier 1 Imports. Again, we can see a similar pattern with the yellow line in this 10-year graph: sinking market performance bottoming out around 2009-2010, and then, as relative search volume for furniture on Google Search picks up, so has the stock value of Pier 1 Imports (though it noticeably has trailed off within the past two years or so).
Beside the "Compare" box, you can also click the check boxes to compare relative industry sector search volumes to common business indexes such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Standard and Poor 500, and the Nasdaq Composite. You can also click to uncheck boxes if you don't want to compare these indexes or the performance of certain companies against relative search volumes.
How to share Google Finance Domestic Trends
You can click Download to Spreadsheet in the lower-left corner of the graph to save the relative search volume of an industry over time as a spreadsheet of comma-separated values.
You can also click Link to This View to produce a web address for the current view of the graph that you're looking at. From there, you can right-click and click Copy to copy the web address, and then click Paste to share the address with someone through an email, instant message, social media, or wherever!
And that's just about everything there is to using Google Finance Domestic Trends!