Each December, researchers at Google pore through the millions and millions of search terms that people used over the course of the year to get a sense of the Zeitgeist, German for “spirit of the times.”
“This year, the spirit is pretty clear,” said Anne Espiritu, anchor of “The Google Beat" on YouTube. “Geek is chic.”
Technology-related terms dominated the most-popular and fastest-rising search terms this year, with Apple’s iPad leading the pack as the number one search term. Runners-up included Chatroulette, a website that pairs random strangers for webcam-based conversations, and the iconic iPhone 4.
Where you have winners, you also have losers. The Google Zeitgeist 2010 concluded that the search term loss leaders in interest were swine flu, wamu and cash for clunkers.
The only celebrity to make the fastest-rising list was teenage pop star Justin Bieber. The only other entertainment -related search on the list was for the Fox hit TV show “Glee.”
For years, Espiritu said, we’ve been hearing that we’re living in a mobile world. The Zeitgeist 2010 shows its day has finally come. In addition to the iPhone 4, two other mobile-related terms claimed a place on Google’s fastest-rising list: Myxer, which provides apps, wallpaper, games and videos for mobile phones, and Mocospace, a mobile chat service.
Popular science also made a strong showing in the 2010 Zeitgeist. The fastest-rising science and technology queries included “iceland volcano eruption,” “moon phases 2010” and “google gravity.”
Space was also a popular area of interest. The most popular search terms in this category were “flight simulator, “ “space flight simulator” and “space shuttle.”
Showing how the economy and finance dominated the business world, the top search terms for small business were “small business grants ,” business loans” and “small business loans.” Businesses also searched with a eye on Washington and stimulating economic growth. “Small Business Saturday,” “small business bill” and “small business act” were in the top five rising searches for small business.
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