It’s that time of the year again when we pause for a moment and look back at that year bygone. The search engines have done their bit by releasing their list of hottest search terms of 2006. This time around these lists created a fair bit of controversy as several renowned bloggers alleged that these lists are nothing but carefully edited marketing tools. The controversy got so much attention that Google was forced to post an explanation on the Google Blog. I am still not convinced though (more on this later in the article)
Anyway, that aside Google Year-End Zeitgeist was as usual interesting to go through.
The Top Gainers list continues to be dominated by Web2.0 websites. While in 2005 only three out of the top 10 gainers (Myspace, Wikipedia and Orkut) were Web 2.0 sites, in 2006 their number is five (Bebo, myspace, metacafe, wikipedia and wiki). This shows that Web 2.0 is something which continues to fascinate people as well as mainstream media. “define:Web 2.0” is second in the list of most popular defination searches while Ajax which is another term associated with Web 2.0 is at number 5. A lot of people also wanted to learn how to create a wiki or a blog or how to podcast.
The “what is” list on the other hand is dominated by various drugs. Two of them ‘Vicodin’ and “hydrocodone” have been made famous by the medical drama “House”, whose protagonist Dr.Gregory House is addicted to vicodin (brand name for Hydrocodone).
However, as I said before I am still not convinced about the integrity of this list. According to Google it doesn’t actually list the most popular search terms; it lists the terms that are gaining in popularity the fastest (Source).Have a look at the Google Search Trend graph for mininova vs zune.
As you can clearly see, Zune which is not in the list is the winner.
Now, the graph for “what is xanax” vs ” what is wii”.
Again, the winner is clear. Yet, wii didn’t get a place in the Zeitgeist while xanax did. Another example is “what is xanax” vs “what is the da Vinci Code”.
Yet another example :
Also the high percentage of medicines in the “What is” list does raises some doubts.
Along, with Google other prominent search engines like msn and yahoo also released their own top searches list. They are much more mundane and with a fewer surprises. Britney Spears is the most searched celeb (yet again) and Dubya is the most searched politician (duh!). My fav show Lost is ranked 66 in msn (way behind the most popular tv show Big Brother). While not being completely accurate I believ these lists did manage to sum up the year that was 2006 fairly effectively. Have a look at them yoursellf.
Yahoo Top Searches
MSN Top Searches