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Zeitgeist Shows What We Really Want

David Gilbert


Zeitgeist Shows What We Really Want

It’s a strange thing looking at the top search terms for the past year. It dilutes down the essence of a nation and the results aren’t always what you expect – or hope for. If we take Google’s Zeitgeist search results as gospel then the UK in 2010 was populated with webcam-chatting, curious, hotmail-using, iPad-toting, Justin Bieber-loving, soccer-obsessed, Facebook-trawling, money-worrying voyeurs who just love talking about the weather.

We don’t know about you but it doesn’t quite tally with our own perceptions of people in the UK but we guess the figures never lie. The top ten Fastest Rising searches in the UK show a definite technology slant with Chatroulette, Formspring, Hotmail, the iPad, Facebook (or fb as it seems to have been shortened to), YouTube and Metcheck all in the top ten.

These results can be seen as part of the 2010 Google Zeitgeist, were Google has gathered the most popular and fastest rising queries from the year to “capture the joys, sorrows and curiosity that many of us felt—capturing the spirit of 2010.” In the UK the top search term was Chatroulette, the Russian-based website that pairs random strangers from around the world together for webcam-based conversations. Second was Formspring, a questions and answers website, which launched only one year ago in November 2009.

‘Hotmail sign in’ was next on the list just ahead of Apple’s tablet the iPad. It's probably better not to discuss the person in fifth place though the World Cup not coming in a higher place than sixth is not too surprising considering England’s early exit. Facebook comes in seventh on the list ahead of bank Santander, reflecting the uncertain times we are living in. Ninth comes YouTube which continues to attract internet searchers as does Metcheck, the refuge for those who just love to talk about the weather.

While the Fastest Rising list shows the trends of 2010 the Most Popular list reveals staples such as BBC, YouTube, eBay, Google, games, mail and news with Facebook topping them all. FInally we have to mention, or rather question, the results of the Fastest Rising Person Searches - Kristian Digby. Who? Right, we're off to Google this guy to see who ye were all looking up.

Neil B

December 9, 2010, 9:26 pm

I'm always amazed that people search for sites like YouTube, ebay, Google etc as just put .com (or whatever) on the end and you'll go straight there. Are people really that lazy (or perhaps stupid)?


December 9, 2010, 9:45 pm

I get your point but can understand that some people are just more comfortable searching for a page rather than entering the address.

That said, why the hell are people using Google to searh for Google?!!


December 9, 2010, 9:48 pm

And why are people searching for google from google?


December 9, 2010, 10:10 pm

@Neil B - I have to say that I am that lazy since when I am at a PC that doesnt have the shortcuts I usually use (i.e work or borrowing a PC) I mostly search for ebay, facebook ect using Google, its just easier to type a word than finding the @ sign or using full stops


December 9, 2010, 10:14 pm

because it includes searches from the search box/address bar ?

Sir Stuie

December 9, 2010, 10:23 pm

I have a feeling Alexander McQueen may not be on the fastest rising person list next year ;)


December 9, 2010, 10:53 pm

@SB got it - this includes searches from the search bar. Also, if your home page is Google.co.uk then the cursor lands on Google's search box when you open your browser.

I've seen users who don't know how to use the address bar or how to set bookmarks, they would rather type what they want into Google, even if they end up doing it frequently. I'm not sure if that's a sign of how good Google is or how lazy users can be.

Hans Gruber

December 10, 2010, 1:05 am

"Kristian Digby. Who? Right, we're off to Google this guy to see who ye were all looking up."

Maybe that's why he's top of the search list as people are wondering who the hell he is?


December 10, 2010, 3:58 am

@Hans - I think it's got more to do with the unfortunate circumstances of his untimely death. If I recall, he was a presenter of early morning property shows, and would be fimiliar to many students & pensioners. Not sure why he's number one, but it gives the list a certain macabre feel.


December 10, 2010, 2:24 pm

I see people all the time go to the address bar type 'Google.com', then click in the search field only to type 'hotmail' or 'bbc'. How is that easier? And while you're in the address bar typing 'google' if you just type 'hot' or 'bbc' it'll drop-down the sites you're actually after. There's no reasonable exlpanation other than people being ignorant to the technology they consume.

The top 10 searches should exclude such things, because nobody's actually searching to find out about them, they're affectively just being re-directed via Google.


December 10, 2010, 3:33 pm

@Pbryanw - Yeah, and last year the number 2 search was Michael Jackson.

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