Google Zeitgeist chronicles search trends for 2011


— 12:15 PM on December 16, 2011

Every year, Google's Zeitgeist tabulates trends based on the most popular web searches of the previous 12 months. The 2011 version is now up, and the results are certainly interesting—if not a little depressing. The fastest rising search topic this year? Rebecca Black, the auto-tuned tweener responsible for Friday, quite possibly one of the worst songs of the past decade. Black beat out Casey Anthony, Battlefield 3, and even Steve Jobs in her rise to the top. Interestingly, Jobs, the iPhone 5, and the iPad 2 are all in the top ten.

Perhaps because it hasn't been released yet, the iPhone 5 didn't make the Zeitgeist's list for consumer electronics. The Kindle Fire sits in the top spot in that category, followed by the iPhone 4S and the Sidekick 4G. HP's now-defunct TouchPad managed to slot into fourth place, probably thanks to folks trying to hunt one down for $99. I'm not sure what the iPad 3 is doing on this list when its unreleased iPhone counterpart wasn't included, though.

Google also tracks how quickly previously popular search topics are falling, and there are no surprises on that front. Myspace, Hi5, and Meebo round out the three biggest losers of the year. All three are social networking sites that have no doubt been decimated by the popularity of Facebook. Surprisingly, Google says its own Google+ alternative to Facebook was the second-biggest trending search of the year after Rebecca Black. Rebecca Black's Google+ page hasn't been updated since September, though.

Zooming in on just the United States provides plenty of other lists to explore, such as the fastest rising games and technology searches. As one might expect, Apple completely dominates the technology segment, while Call of Duty takes the top two spots in the gaming category. My personal favorite is the YouTube unboxing category, which includes Madden 12 and Brink in the top 10. Seriously? Some folks are really into watching video games come out of their packaging, I guess.

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