TechWorld

Top searches of 2008

Google's annual Zeitgeist is out.
  • Ian Paul (PC World (US online))
  • 11 December, 2008 04:40

The year is coming to a close, but the endless year-in-review articles are just beginning. Google's annual Zeitgeist is out today with its compilation of the most popular search terms around the world.

Zeitgeist is a German term that is loosely translated as "spirit of the age and its society." Google's 2008 edition included broad categories like "Top of Mind," "Politics," "Trendsetters," "Showbiz," "Sports" and for the first time the search company has added 30 country specific breakdowns.

Without further ado, here's the top 10 fastest-rising searches entered into Google by Internet users around the globe:

1. sarah palin

2. beijing 2008

3. facebook login

4. tuenti

5. heath ledger

6. obama

7. nasza klasa

8. wer kennt wen

9. euro 2008

10. jonas brothers

It seems the world could not get enough of Sarah Palin.

The Alaska governor and former vice presidential candidate made headlines with her gun-toting, snowmachining, "you betcha" style. Palin even dominated tech headlines in October when a University of Tennessee student hacked into her Yahoo! Mail account.

Here in the U.S., however, president-elect Barack Obama topped the fastest-rising search terms list, while Palin came in at #7.

But tech was the real Google champ with requests for Facebook, iPhone, ATT and YouTube all making the top 10.

Google.com's Fastest-Rising (U.S.)

1. obama

2. facebook

3. att

4. iphone

5. youtube

6. fox news

7. palin

8. beijing 2008

9. david cook

10. surf the channel

Page Break

When gas prices started getting out of control this summer, Americans showed their frustration through their queries for hybrid cars. Other green searches included solar panels and compact fluorescent bulbs.

The economy was also at the top of people's concerns. Searches for economic terms spiked in the U.S. while the Dow plummeted and financial firms started collapsing.

1. financial crisis

2. depression

3. bailout

4. mortgage crisis

5. wall street

6. oil

7. stock market

8. subprime

9. credit crisis

10. housing crisis

Social networks were also big in 2008. Facebook surpassed MySpace as the number one destination, and International social networks also came to the fore. More than half of the top queried social networks were for sites outside the U.S.

Social Networks Sought

1. facebook

2. myspace

3. hi5

4. orkut

5. linkedin

6. nasza klasa

7. netlog

8. mixi

9. meetup

10. odnoklassniki

You'll find a ton of other interesting lists to look over at Google's 2008 Zeitgeist page. Looking back, it would be an understatement to say that 2008 was a historic year. We watched Michael Phelps and Dara Torres make history in Beijing and Barack Obama took center stage with his historic and inspiring victory. But all the while, the economy started melting down, setting off a global crisis.

In January we start anew, and while you never what a new year will bring, it's going to be tough for 2009 to compete with all the history we just crammed into the last 12 months.