What the World’s Been Searching For in 2009

By  |  Tuesday, December 1, 2009 at 2:03 pm

It’s become a tradition for the major search engines to release year-end summaries of what their users have been searching for–and for reasons unknown to me, all of them unveil these lists on December 1st, so they really cover 11/12th of the year.

After the jump, lists from Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Ask.com–sadly but unsurprisingly, the gent to the right hit number one on three out of the four charts. And just for the heck of it, I’ll tell you about the searches that bring folks to Technologizer, absolutely none of which involve deceased celebrities, reality TV, or infectious diseases.

Google’s Zeitgeist lists mostly track the fastest-riding searches–those that received the biggest increase compared to 2008. The list is very, very international–in fact, I’d never heard of four of the ten terms until now. (I’ve linked to explanatory material, just in case you’re as out of it as I was.)

Fastest Rising Google Searches (Global)

1. michael jackson
2. facebook
3. tuenti
4. twitter
5. sanalika
6. new moon
7. lady gaga
8. windows 7
9. dantri.com.vn
10. torpedo gratis

Yahoo put together a particularly ambitious year in review package, with lots of lists (even one of Obama-related queries). They appear to focus on the U.S., though–and don’t seem to be as trend-based as Google’s–so there are fewer surprises. (It’s worthwhile to be reminded of what a surging sea of Americans find worth searching for, I guess.) There was only one search in the top ten that mystified me.

Top 10 Overall Yahoo Searches for 2009

1. Michael Jackson
2. Twilight
3. WWE
4. Megan Fox
5. Britney Spears
6. Naruto
7. American Idol
8. Kim Kardashian
10. Runescape

Bing released just one list–of “Trending Topics“–and while Microsoft didn’t explain its methodology or scope, it’s a very U.S.-centric lineup. (Or at least I assume that the entire planet isn’t deeply interested in Cash for Clunkers, Jon and Kate Gosselin, and Billy Mays.)

Top Bing Trending Topics

1. Michael Jackson
2. Twitter
3. Swine Flu
4. Stock Market
5. Farrah Fawcett
6. Patrick Swayze
7. Cash for Clunkers
8. Jon and Kate Gosselin
9. Billy Mays
10. Jaycee Dugard

Ask.com stuck true to its answer-centric roots and released a list of the most-asked questions (in several categories). The overall list includes questions which are smart to ask, ones that probably shouldn’t be asked, and ones that are pretty much unanswerable.

Ask.com’s Top Questions of 2009

1. How much should I weigh?
2. How do I get out of debt fast?
3. How do I get pregnant?
4. What is Twitter?
5. What is Miley Cyrus’ phone number?
6. What is the meaning of life?
7. When will the world end?
8. How long does marijuana stay in your system?
9. What are the symptoms of Swine Flu?
10. What time is it?

After perusing all these top tens, I was inspired to publish one of my own. Here’s a list of the queries at the above search engines and others that have brought Web searchers to Technologizer in the first eleven months of the year. I’ll betcha you couldn’t have predicted most of them.

Technologizer’s Top Ten Searches of 2009 (So Far)

1. Swoopo (this article by Ed Oswald is one of our all-time hits)
2. Windows 7 download
3. Gmail down
4. iTunes Home Sharing
5. AT&T strike (this post, also by Ed, has received 300 comments to date)
6. Google Toolbar for Chrome (there’s no such thing, but people look for it every day)
7. BlackBerry Storm vs. iPhone
8. Celebrities on Twitter
9. iPhone tethering
10. Verizon Droid

I wonder if anything will happen in December to dramatically skew any of the full-year results…and if any of the search engines will update us if it does?


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5 Comments For This Post

  1. IcyFog Says:

    I’m glad to know I didn’t search for any of those subjects in those Top 10 lists.

  2. Yuce Says:

    “Google Toolbar for Chrome” is the funniest thing I’ve seen today, it is also ironic that Chrome users needs it [since Google doesn’t deliver the functionality in Chrome].

  3. Seumas Says:

    A stunning illustration of how truly stupid people are.

  4. Claire Richardson Says:

    Jon Gosselin seems like a womanizer to me. I still hope that he would still reconcile with Kate.od couple. *

  5. Georgina Swiss Says:

    Hello! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I genuinely enjoy reading through your posts. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same topics? Thank you!

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