Every year, Google publishes a round-up of the most searched-for terms over the course of the past 12 months. 2008 has seen Sarah Palin beat Barack Obama – a sentence I never imagined myself typing – as well as some other interesting fast risers. Sex is strangely absent from the list.
At one time, the Internet was used almost exclusively for pornography. Maybe I shouldn’t pass on this information because it kind of gives it away that I was one of those who used to search the Web for some mild titillation. But it’s true, so what the hell. The Web has since grown up, and we all now use it for many more reasons beside looking for porn.
I know this because terms related to sex are absent from the latest Google Zeitgeist list, which annually details the most searched-for terms on Google Search. Instead, the results show that the American election was huge all around the world, as was the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. But the big winners seem to be Facebook and YouTube, both companies scoring high on search popularity around the world.
Fastest Rising (Global)
1. sarah palin
2. beijing 2008
3. facebook login
5. heath ledger
7. nasza klasa
8. wer kennt wen
9. euro 2008
10. jonas brothers
As can be seen in the list of the fastest rising search terms globally, Sarah Palin had a massive year, with John McCain’s controversial Presidential running mate beating all comers, including Barack Obama, the man who won the election to become the first black President of the USA. Not bad for a redneck from Alaska.
Beijing 2008 unsurprisingly came second, with a high percentage of search popularity all around the world. I do wonder if London 2012 will prove quite so popular, although that’s probably just because I’m British and am worried we’ll mess it up.
Facebook came third, and although YouTube didn’t make the top ten, a quick glance at the end-of-year results for each individual country sees it appearing near the top on many occasions. These two ever-popular Web sites may have an incredible amount of traffic but neither has successfully been monetized to fully take advantage of that so far.
Heath Ledger came a respectable fifth after his untimely death in January. Luckily for us all, he had completed work on The Dark knight before he died, leaving us with possibly his greatest performance ever and one which could see him and the Batman film be awarded Academy Awards.
While the individual results are interesting enough, what the Zeitgeist does really well is show how much power Google now has. Every time we search for something online, that information is stored somewhere for safekeeping. Which given my recently confessed history of Internet porn use is rather worrying.