Google’s 2011 Zeitgeist: The Year In Black
Hard to believe, but here we are, near the end of another calendar year, and being this time of year, it’s time for the Google Zeitgeist for 2011.
This “How the world searched” feature is in its 11th instance, and as Google alluded to it in its official blog, the Zeitgeist provides us with “the spirit of the time.”
Or, as the case may be for extraterrestrial aliens suddenly landing on the planet and examining the Google global search logs for 2011, it provides a psychotic view into our collective predispositions and moral depravity.
“E.T., phone home…and whatever else you do, DON’T read the human search logs.”
Before we allow for the drumroll, let’s highlight the details behind the Zeitgeist. Basically, Google looks at the most popular and fastest rising search terms — those with the highest growth in 2011 — in many categories across many countries.
Those of us who work in global SEO can certainly appreciate the challenges and opportunities those local conditions engender, and to make this effort even more fun, Zeitgeist this year has introduced search visualizations so one can compare terms across categories.
And, if you hate reading, there’s always the Zeitgeist year-end-recap video:
If the Zeitgeist is intended to capture the spirit of the times, based on some of the top search queries, I may, in fact, be entirely behind the times. “Rebecca Black” made the top of the list, and I’ve honestly never heard of the pop singer whose greatest hit appears to be “Friday.”
Other songstresses hit the upper reaches of the Google search universe, including “Adele” (also lost on me), reality star “Ryan Dunn” (of which reality, might I ask), and “Casey Anthony.”
Finally, one I heard of. The alleged child killer came in at a whopping #4 on the global zeitgeist! Casey Kasem would be so proud!
“Google+” came in at number 2. How convenient — and Facebook nowhere to be seen this year?
Apple dominated three other spots in the top 10: “iPhone 5” at #6, “Steve Jobs” at #9, and the “iPad 2” at #10.
A lot of stuff happened in the world this year.
There were natural disasters galore, from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in March, to the swarm of tornadoes across Missouri and the midwest in May, to the floods in Brazil and Thailand.
We found and killed Osama Bin Laden, even as his former safe haven of Sudan found independence in the South.
There were revolutions, literally, in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and even near Wall Street.
And yes, there were some timely demises, including some of my faves, Joe Frazier, Andy Rooney, Christopher Hitchens, and yes, of course, Steve Jobs.
And despite all that, it’s apparently the big splash of Rebecca Black that topped the search charts, when her video “Friday” went viral and received over 167M views on YouTube.
E.T…don’t just phone home. Pick me up and get me the heck out of here.
Just please, whatever else you don’t, do NOT put it on YouTube.