Google Zeitgeist Highlights 2006 Searches

As Google itself points out, the top search terms its users enter tend to remain fairly constant from year to year—”yellow pages,” “dictionary”, “games,” “maps,” and a number of, um, colorful words. So, in summing up the year, the Internet search titan tends to look for terms and searches which were popular and generated traffic in the current year, but were not popular the previous year. The idea is that these terms have a better chance of representing the topics Internet users are newly curious and passionate about during the year, and capturing the “spirit” of the year’s queries.

With that in mind, Google has released its Year-End Zeitgeist for 2006, encompassing the top searches for the year at both the general Google search engine and its news portal, Google News.

Top Google.com Searches in 2006:

  1. bebo
  2. myspace
  3. world cup
  4. metacafe
  5. radioblog
  6. wikipedia
  7. video
  8. rebelde
  9. mininova
  10. wiki

While MySpace and Wikipedia appeared in 2005 as “top gainers,” none of the other terms are repeats.

Top Google News Searches in 2006:

  1. paris hilton
  2. orlando bloom
  3. cancer
  4. podcasting
  5. hurricane katrina
  6. bankruptcy
  7. martina hingis
  8. autism
  9. 2006 nfl draft
  10. celebrity big brother 2006

Old news which was still news in 2006 included “hurricane katrina,” but celebrities seemed to have dropped off the list—r at least no new celebrities emerged strongly enough to make the cut, with stalwarts like Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, and Britney Spears dropping out of the 2006 rankings. (You can practically hear their publicists thinking, “Yes, but they’ll be eligible next year!“)

Google updates its Zietgeist analysis every week, with monthly summaries. The Zeitgeist makes for some puzzling moments, usually somewhere between “what is that?” and “why would anybody search on that?”

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