Zeitgeist 2008: Google Tells Us What We’ve Searched This Year

10 12 2008

Today Google told us what the world has been looking for in the past 12 months: the annual Zeitgeist list has arrived.

The release of the list of the worlds most popular searches has steadily improved in popularity in years and this year even  made the BBC News homepage.


As the year comes to a close, it’s time to look at the big events, memorable moments and emerging trends that captivated us in 2008. As it happens, studying the aggregation of the billions of search queries that people type into the Google search box gives us a glimpse into the zeitgeist — the spirit of the times.

Google have made the move this year to present their findings for country searches as well, so you can see what was top in the UK, US and even the Philippines. And it would seem that Sarah Palin has had her moment in the sun…

Fastest Rising (Global) Search Terms

  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

How To Turn Off New Google SearchWiki [Firefox Only]

25 11 2008

Last week Google launched the SearchWiki feature, “a way for you to customize search by re-ranking, deleting, adding, and commenting on search results” as titled by Google, “a way to clutter your minimalist search results and throw away market share” as titled by Just Google It.

Although Google intended for this new tool to improve users search experience and enhance the relevance of the sites on offer, it has got a bit of a bashing around the Internet, not least from TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington in his ‘Google, It Wasn’t Broke’ blog rant. The main problem with SearchWiki is that once you’ve accepted to use it, Google offers you no way back, so we offer to show you how to turn it off.

Arrington's Advice To His Blog Readers

Arrington advises his blog readers

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Google Add Social Networking Element To Search

25 11 2008

Google have made a brave move by tinkering with their winning formula: search.

Last week Google announced on their official blog that they were introducing a new approach to search, which they have termed SearchWiki.

CNN was promoted to first result status

CNN was promoted to first result status

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Google Learns To Read Text From Images!

3 11 2008

Google is number one for search. We’ve said this time and time again on Just Google It. Their textual search results are unrivalled. Their image search is, day-after-day, being improved by human interaction through the Image Labeler game. But it was rough-going when they tried to index both at the same time: Text on images.

The main way in which text is carried via an image is through pdfs. In the past these were included in Google’s textual search results, but Google only included them based on a small amount of information, such as page title, file name or the content of the pages that link to it. However, Google have now made a major breakthrough for this kind of search, and search altogether.

They have begun using Optical Character Recognition technology to understand what words are included in a pdf that includes a scanned image (normal pdfs have been indexed for a while now), and include them in search results. Official Google Blog says:

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology lets us convert a picture (of a thousand words) into a thousand words — words that can be searched and indexed, so that these valuable documents are more easily found. This is a small but important step forward in our mission of making all the world’s information accessible and useful.Read the rest of this entry »

Can Google Predict The US Election?

24 10 2008

The world is counting down to decision day. Who becomes the most powerful man in the world? Who becomes the leader of the United States? The race is being closely run by John McCain and Barack Obama.

Polls are being closely scrutinised to try and see who is leading, what difference comments made and which states seem safe. The polls, at the moment, have Obama out in front. They all differ in the size of the lead from 11% to just 3%, but  still in front.

Data-analysis company Gallup have Barack Obama out in front with 50% of the votes, where John McCain has 43% of the balllots.

With this data, Just Google It considered how similar search volume could be to the way people were going to vote. Could the way people search influence their Presidential choice? We looked at Google Trends to find out… Read the rest of this entry »