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Google's new 'Top Charts' will tell you which celebrities, planets, or dog breeds top its searches

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One of the best parts of Google's search engine is its ability to plot trends: sometimes for practical reasons, like the search-based Flu Trends map, and sometimes for clever snapshots like its year-end Zeitgeist of top searches. Google Trends, likewise, allows you to check the popularity of a search term over time or see what's showing up most frequently in people's searches. Now, Google has expanded Trends with some fresh organization tools. The new "Top Charts" section will give users a billboard ranking of many, many subjects, from celebrities to planets.

Each chart tracks a specific category month by month, showing what's in the public eye based on search terms. Various terms (like Selena Gomez for "Actors") get a numerical ranking up to 100, and Google will chart how often they've appeared on the list and how their fortunes change over time.

Some of the categories, like basketball teams or movies, are obviously popular and trend-driven. But you'll also find weirder groupings. Ever wondered what medications people search for most? "Antibacterial" and "Adderal" consistently vie for the top spot. What about governors, whiskeys, chemical elements, or DJs? They're all here, though for now, the list is limited to the United States. Besides Top Charts, Google has added a few other tweaks, including a visualization tool for overall top searches and a reorganized home page. More details are available at the company's blog.