If you have ever been vaguely interested in search beyond the simple 'where can I find x' type question, and perhaps more from an 'who is asking about y' or 'where is z the most popular' instead, then listen up.

Google has announced the launch of Insights for Search which aims to answer just those sort of questions.

OK, so Google Trends helps with this stuff to a certain degree, but Insights for Search promises toe let you dig much deeper into current Internet interests than ever before. It is being aimed at advertisers and marketers primarily, but bog-standard inquisitive web-users will benefit as well.

Here's how, according to the Google press office:

  • Search trends over time - See how user interest rises and falls around a particular subject. Type in more than one keyword, separated by a comma, to compare keyword popularity.
  • Regional interest - See which countries, cities and regions are most interested in a certain topic; click on a part of the heat-map to see more about search volume in a specific region.
  • Top and rising related searches - find out what queries related to your own are most popular, and which ones are gaining in popularity.
  • Refine your insights searches by category - see top searches in a category--rising searches in 'Celebrities', for example, or popular searches in 'Vehicle Brands'. Specify by date, region or subject to get more detailed results.

"We think this is an exciting new tool for anyone who's interested in finding out what's popular on the web," said Yossi Matias, Director of Google Tel Aviv R&D Center, where Trends and Insights for Search are developed. "Insights for Search gives you some powerful new tools for looking at web trends. For those who have tried Google Trends before, this tool provides more flexibility and functionality, and adds some cool new features like a world heat map to graphically display search volume and regional interest."