What People Search For Online (2010 Edition)

By January 16, 2011 Search News No Comments

Google Zeitgeist is an interactive product from Google, which attempts to capture the spirit of 2010 (or ‘zeitgeist’), by aggregating all the millions of searches performed, and trying to present it to us in a useful way.

For such a lot of data, they have actually done a fantastic job. They break it down by country, and by topic. In previous years, there have been lists of ‘top 10 searches’, but never anything as comprehensive as Google Zeitgeist. Rather than having the top 10 searches, this year they have the top 5 global events, which were (in no specific order)

1. The Icelandic Ash Cloud

2. The World Cup

3. Olympics (?)

4. Haiti Earth Quake

5. BP Oil Spill

The other search engines have been releasing their top searches lists, and I think this is a good way to compare the search engines, and understand what each of them is used for. Historically I have noted that Google searches are markedly different from Yahoo searches. Yahoo searches tended to be more about popular culture, whereas Google tended to be more about news and more ‘serious’ topics. I would assume that Bing would be more serious than Yahoo, and maybe even than Google. Here, lets take a look…

Bing top 10 searches 2010:

  1. Kim Kardashian
  2. Sandra Bullock
  3. Tiger Woods
  4. Lady Gaga
  5. Barack Obama
  6. Hairstyles
  7. Kate Gosselin
  8. Walmart
  9. Justin Bieber
  10. Free

Looks like Bing has taken a leaf out of Yahoo’s book, with the top searches being dominated by celebrities. So much for me assuming that Bing searchers might differ greatly from Yahoo. Searches like ‘free’ and ‘hairstyles’ are quite broad, so maybe this has been pared down from something more informative. The Bing blog explains ‘free’, by saying there is obviously widespread concern for the tough economy.

Yahoo top 10 searches 2010:

  1. BP Oil Spill
  2. World Cup
  3. Miley Cyrus
  4. Kim Kardashian
  5. Lady Gaga
  6. iPhone
  7. Megan Fox
  8. Justin Bieber
  9. American Idol
  10. Britney Spears

Yahoo searchers are actually seeming more well-rounded than Bing searchers, with the number 1 spot going to an actual current event, the BP Oil Spill, and number 2 to the World Cup. Searches for iPhone also come up, at number 6.

It is difficult to compare topics across the search engines this year, since Google isn’t letting us know how things like the Kardashians rate agains events like the Iceland Ash cloud.

And under the top food and drinks searches in Australia, it is no surprise to anyone that watched Masterchef this year that macaroons have been searched for a lot,  (number 2 most searched food or drink)…but this doesn’t explain why number 1 was Minestrone.

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