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What Googlers hit around the world May 10, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Google.

Doberman, blood diamond, Vietnam war, bookshop. Alternatively, what about tango, zeus, Zara and the police? A world map of the mind can be sketched out by the words people search for on the internet, which are recorded by country by Google Zeitgeist http://www.google.com/press/zeitgeist

If you thought the first four searches displayed a certain seriousness, and an interest in European dog breeds, you may have guessed they were among the 10 most requested in Denmark during March, the most recent month for which figures are available. The second set of terms gained most in popularity in Spain that month.

Unsurprisingly, searches in Britain seem to be about entertainment, PSP games, Johnny Depp, Shrek 3 and Red Nose Day were all in the “top gaining” top 10. This pattern is repeated across the frivolous western world. Australia’s fastest risers were crosswords and Ugg boots; in France it’s Orange and Tokio Hotel, a German rock band; in the Netherlands it’s Killers and Starbucks.

In contrast, searches in developing nations are much more worthy and urgent: in Colombia popular searches include co-operatives and the Colombian livestock farmer association; in the Philippines it is hospitals and typhoons. Popular searches in Afghanistan include army knowledge online and ministry of higher education. Iraqis were looking at army correspondence course and kidnapping Iraq.

Globalisation throws up some interesting incongruities. Iraqi searchers’ sudden interest in Anna Nicole Smith, ninth most popular, is explained by her widely reported death, but why did Greece experience a spring surge in fascination for Catherine Zeta-Jones? And why was Celine Dion suddenly popular in Finland?

Google is coy about the popularity of less family-friendly search terms. It has been reported that there are more Google searches for sex in Pakistan than anywhere else in the world but Google Zeitgeist has no such figure, in March, Pakistanis were looking at Lamborghini and, intriguingly, “male models”. Does Google not record pornographic searches? Are the most popular searches always rude ones? “That’s absolutely not the case,” says a Google spokesperson. “We think it’s more interesting to look at what gained popularity in a period of time. Searches are not all dominated by adult keywords.”

Related Links >
Google corporate information > http://www.google.com/corporate/index.html
Search Engine Watch > http://searchenginewatch.com
Search Engine Showdown > http://www.searchengineshowdown.com

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