The Zeitgeist in search: Gadgets displace celebrities in 2010

The world of technology trumped celebrities when it came to search queries for 2010 on the world’s largest search engine.

Some of the hottest topics included online stranger-pairing website Chatroulette and Apple’s hip iPad tablet computer in Google’s “Spirit of 2010” analysis of search results at

“An overarching theme is geek is truly chic,” said Google spokesperson Anne Espiritu while discussing the year’s top search trend results.

However the third fastest search term for the year was 16-year-old Canadian pop singer Justin Bieber, who arguably fell into the technology category because he was discovered at video-sharing website YouTube.

Google measures which search topics rocket and which plummet in order to get a sense of the “zeitgeist,” or spirit, of each year.

The search engine also keeps track of sheer numbers of searches on topics, but found them less telling because mundane terms such as “weather” and “news” routinely top queries.

“Doing fast-rising search terms allows us to see what is truly unique about 2010,” Espiritu said. “Think of fastest rising as the shooting stars in terms of popularity.”

Seven of the Top Ten fasting rising search terms for the year were Internet related, and the number rose to eight if Bieber was bumped into the category.

Online game websites friv and gamezer were on the Top 10 list, along with Twitter, Facebook, iPad, Chatroulette, and mobile phone ringtone service Myxer.

Singers Nicki Minaj and Katy Perry rounded out the global Top 10.

Google revved up its Zeitgeist website this year with interactive graphics that show how searches on terms rose or sank around the world.

Online social networking and mobile gadgets or services remained strong trends in search. The number of people using Google search from mobile devices quadrupled in the past year, according to Espiritu.

“People are increasingly relying on their mobile devices to access information,” she said. “It seems smartphones have hit the mainstream.”

Searches for news stories about Haiti, Chile, earthquake and “oil spill” spiked through the year. Online interest also soared for the FIFA 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Google also had results in quirky categories, with “chili” being the top recipe search for the year and queries regarding Power 90 Extreme home workout systems topping exercise-related searches.

Number One in dance was the “dougie” made popular by 1990s rapper Doug E. Fresh.

While Google’s free online mapping service logged top search spikes for the World Cup, Eiffel Tower and Hearst Castle, sixth on the list was the term “Things to do”.

Zeitgeist comes on the heels of Yahoo! releasing Year in Review Top 10 search results dominated by “transfixion” with the BP oil spill, pop culture’s leading ladies, gadgets starting with ‘i,’ and a new found fascination with soccer.

Celebrities popular with searchers at Yahoo! included Bieber; teen sensation Miley Cyrus; music artist Lady Gaga, and reality TV star Kim Kardashian.

– Own reporter and AFP



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