Google Trends, the service that compares the volume of searches, has been updated to show numbers on the vertical axis. "These numbers don't refer to exact search-volume figures. Instead, in the same way that a map might scale to a certain size, Google Trends scales the first term you've entered so that its average search volume is 1.00 in the chosen time period," explains Google Blog.
Now that you can compare more accurately the popularity of up to five search terms, there's also an option to download the data as a CSV file: http://www.google.com/trends/viz?q=QUERY&graph=all_csv. The file actually contains values separated by tabs, so change the extension to tsv before uploading it to Google Spreadsheets.
Google doesn't show absolute numbers for competitive reasons, but also because those numbers wouldn't be exact. "Google Trends analyzes a portion of Google web searches to compute how many searches have been done for the terms you enter, relative to the total number of searches done on Google over time."
The new features are available only if you sign in, probably to protect against automatic data download. If you try to download a CSV file without being logged in, you'll get a file that contains this message: "You must be signed in to export data from Google Trend". An API would've been a better idea.
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