The Year in Search

December 20, 2009

As the end of the year rolls around, I find it interesting to look at the things people have been searching for on the web. Each search engine has their own list, so let’s take a look at the data for 2009.


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


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


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

The first thing that jumps out at me in this data is that the only item that transcended all three lists was Michael Jackson. Certainly part of this is the methodology that the search engines are using to tabulate this data, and all of them are using “trending” topics. As you might guess, searches for things like Youtube or pornography are going to have relatively consistent growth on a year to¬† year basis.

The terms that made two lists were Twitter and Twilight/New Moon. It is certainly remarkable the growth that Twitter has had this year. It has certainly created a lot of public awareness in a short time. It will interesting to see if it remains a trend in 2010.

One interesting difference between the Google and Bing lists are the number of tech-related searches on Google versus the number of “obituary”-related searches on Bing. Bing has four celebrities who had died in the past year on its list while Google has arguably 7 different technology related results. TechCrunch Europe has an interesting entry on why Sanalika appears. Tuenti is the Spanish version of Facebook. is a Vietnamese newspaper. Torpedo Gratis is a Portuguese site that allows you to send free text messages.

One thing you can certainly take from Google’s list is it’s international appeal. Techcrunch also argues that most international users will simply use Google over the address bar or bookmarks to get to particular websites.

Are there any interesting trends or notes that you’ve spotted? Let me know in the comments.

It’s a Secret to Everybody

October 17, 2009

Pardon the obscure reference (bonus points if you recognize it without Google) and my unexpected time off last week, but I’ve got a new interesting, bit of free stuff on the web for you today.

This week, I’m going to talk about an unusual offering called Mystery Google, but this requires a bit of a side trip to explain what really brought this to mind.

A fellow blogger heard about a fellow who went to a cafe in Japan. Nothing too unusual so far, but the interesting thing about it is that you don’t get what you order and pay for.

You actually get what the person in front of you ordered and paid for. It seems a little strange so an example might be in order. Let’s say the cafe gets three customers a day.

Person A orders a cookie.
Person B orders a hot dog.
Person C orders 2 nachos.

However, what they receive is different.

Person A actually gets whatever was ordered last the night before.
Person B gets a cookie.
Person C gets a hot dog.

And the first customer tomorrow is going to get 2 nachos.

Pretty interesting, but you do have to be able to eat a variety of things in order to try this sort of cuisine. Food allergies or vegetarianism might lead to some trouble.

Anyway, Mystery Google works on the same premise. You actually get the search results of the person who did a search before you.

I just did a search for “It’s a Secret to Everybody” and got the search results for “Mistery Google,” which basically gave me the misspelling search results for Mystery Google. While that isn’t terribly creative, I have gotten some interesting results during other test searches.

Another search lead me to Kittens, which led me to the lolcatz website. Something that I had actually wanted to see what the fuss was about. This site mostly contains pictures of cats with sometimes humorous captions, but many of them seem to be inter-related and only funny to those in the know. I did like this one though.

In any case, this may be an opportunity for you to pick up some additional knowledge on a subject that you had no idea you were interested in. There are caveats though. I have gotten content inappropriate for younger folks trying to gross out the system. You could imagine people at the restaurant ordering liver and Limburger cheese or something worse.

Get any interesting results? Let me know in the comments.