What's hot? Google Trends now tells your inbox

Google Trends adds email subscriptions so that you can stay on top of changing search patterns and topics. Does it signal the end of Google Alerts?

Google introduces email subscriptions for Google Trends, which could kneecap the similar Google Alerts service. Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET

Are you a space fan, but you had no idea that Space X was launching a rocket today? The new subscription feature in Google Trends that debuted on Friday can help you stay on top of the latest news and Internet fads.

The subscribe feature works for any search topic, as well as the what's trending-style Hot Searches, or monthly top chart for the US. But instead of getting deluged with updates, you can adjust how often your subscriptions arrive. For Hot Searchers, those frequency rates are "as-it-happens," once a day, or once a week. Monthly charts are emailed when there's a new one posted. Search topic subscriptions can be limited to a specific country and can be set to arrive once a week or once a month.

The new subscription service sounds similar to Google Alerts, a notification service introduced in 2007 that emails you when certain terms or phrases appear on the Web. It's been rumored that Google Alerts could be shut down in the near future, TechCrunch reported. However, Google just did a major overhaul of the look of Google Alerts emails in January. Killing off the service so soon after a redesign would be unusual.

Google did not directly address the question of whether they're killing off Google Alerts, but for now it appears that Alerts will remain separate but active alongside Google Trends subscriptions. Google representative Roya Soleimani explained the differences between the two similar services.

"Google Trends notifications tell you about what people are searching for, whereas Google Alerts tell you about new content published to the web," she said. "We expect people may choose to subscribe to both Google Alerts for web content and Google Trends for web searches, and we look forward to getting feedback about how they enjoy the new Trends feature."

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