The Google Zeitgeist, an annual aggregation of search queries, was released this week, charting the many terms and topics that Web users explored during the past year, from "swine flu" to "Chatroulette." The report also offers a time-lapse map measuring searches for terms related to major world events such as "Olympics" and "ash cloud."
Google explains the Zeitgeist:
So which search queries had the strongest presence in 2010? Surge Desk offers its own take on this year's Google Zeitgeist:"Zeitgeist" means "the spirit of the times," and Google reveals this spirit through the aggregation of millions of search queries we receive every day. We have several tools that give insight into global, regional, past and present search trends. These tools are available for you to play with, explore and learn from. Use them for everything from business research to trivia answers.
What didn't surprise us in the least: When it comes to search terms trending on Google, Justin Bieber is as close to a mainstay as they come. Sure, many of the Bieber-related trends are by most measures disturbing, but considering his constant presence in social media and search queries, it's no surprise that the teen pop sensation led the category for "Fastest Rising People."
What made us scratch our heads: Where are Julian Assange and WikiLeaks? Yes, the lists are based on a scientific aggregation of search entries (so if you didn't make it, it's hard to cry editorial bias), but one would think the whistle-blowing organization that has dominated the news since early this summer with its confidential document dumps and ongoing "sex by surprise" allegations against its editor would manage to at least crack the "In the News" list.
What made us lose some faith in humanity: There is no easy way to put this, so let's be blunt: "Lady Gaga" placed five rankings higher than "oil spill" for "In the News" searches. In other words, people are more interested in a pop star dressed in meat than the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history.
What restored our faith in humanity: Cupcakes ranked as the No. 3 term in "Fastest Rising Food and Drink."
What made us chuckle: After its meteoric rise, Chatroulette became better known for its indecency problems than as an innocent social-media tool. The random video-chat generator, which ranked first on the "Fastest Rising" search list, could probably have just as easily topped the "Fastest Falling" category.
As a bonus, here is Google's nostalgic (and somewhat premature) year-end YouTube video:
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