The Internet is a wonderful–and sometimes terrible thing. While subscribing to Internet services is like a virtual gateway to the world and all the things it offers, I sometimes wonder how it has changed our lives and our thinking.
About a month ago I decided to investigate the top Google searches. This was not as easy as I imagined. But I did find some interesting things that you might find entertaining.
Enter Google Zeitgeist. Zeit means “time”, and geist means “spirit”, so it’s pretty much a summary of the “intectual, moral, and cultural climate” over a period of time. I decided to share some of the things that can be found here (and my comments) today.
Fastest Rising Searches Globally of 2008:
Vice presidential candidate beats President for fastest rising search term globally… but not in the US.
…Apparently people in the US don’t know how to type an address in the address bar. And although Obama beat Palin in the US for general searches, “Sarah Palin” was number one for both Google News and Google Images–no Obama on either list.
Google Trends is another feature that shows popular searches–it’s for the current year and broken down to each day. Here’s the top searched query for the last week:
- Monday: boyles furniture (company was celebrating 60 anniversary, featured on the Today Show)
- Tuesday: notehall (website where college lecture notes and study guides can be bought and sold–appeared on ABC show “Shark Tank”)
- Wednesday: wanda sykes wife (lesbian comedian who spoke on HBO about her wife and politics)
- Thursday: brooke astor (American socialite whose son was found guilty of stealing from her)
- Friday: obama nobel peace prize (kinda self-explanatory)
- Saturday: stephen gately (Bandmember of Boyzone died that day)
- Sunday: army wives season 4 (Season 3 ended that night)
My verdict: We care about whatever’s on TV that night…
You might want to check out Google Trends. I have to forwarn you, they are completely different from one day to another and most of them have to do with celebrity gossip and deaths. And you will probably start searching the terms about just to see what the fuss was about!
And, last but not least, enter Google Suggest. This is great. I guess Google fills in the blank based on similar searches from other people–or at least what Google considers to be a pressing concern for most Internet searchers. Here are a few that I found entertaining (warning: this is addicting!):
*Start typing “should my” and the first suggestion is “should my poop float”! Other suggestions include “should my muscles be sore after a workout” and “should my girlfriend hang out with other guys”
*Start typing “what if my” and you find out there’s really only three things that people must worry about: their dogs, poop (again? really?), and periods.
*Start typing “can you g” and EVERY suggestion has to do with pregnancy (especially in concern with periods) except “can you get mono twice”.
*Start typing “why do” and apparently the number one question on people’s minds is “why do men have nipples”. Other pressing issues have to do with dogs, cats, and various bodily functions.
Last but not least… if you ever need to know why…
It kind of makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
Google has become a widely popular and prominent authority in the search engine world. Finding the right website for many topics is relatively easy on Google, but sometimes a simple keyword search doesn’t bring the answer right away. Obscure topics, past events, and genre-specific searches sometimes take a little more effort. Google has additional features that you may find helpful for your extensive research.
Google shows the most popular ways to refine your search at the top of the page, such as Images, Maps, and Shopping. If you click on “more”, you’ll see some additional queries that may interest you, such as Finance or Blogs. The “even more>>” link will display all of the search options and special features Google offers. Each item has a short description if you are not familiar with these features.
Suppose you want to research a certain topic with which you are unfamiliar and which has many subtopics and fields you want to explore. At the top of the results listed for your search query, you will see the “Show options…” link. This displays a sidebar to the left with additional search tools.
In the first section you can view videos, forums or reviews of your topic. You can specify when the page was added/updated in the next section for results with recent articles. The third section changes how the view of the search results to show pictures or more text to determine if you want to peruse that website further.
The fourth section shows four more research tools: “Related searches” show common topics related to your search. The “Wonder wheel” shows related topics on spokes with your topic in the center. For example, if you’re searching for “apples”, the wonder wheel shows “apples nutrition” and “apple types”. If you click on a sub category, it becomes the main category and shows more subheadings. Clicking on “apple types” brings up “apple varieties baking” and “sweet apple varieties”. When you find the topic you’re looking for, switch back to standard view to see websites from this topic.
Lastly, Timeline shows the popularity of your topic over time and shows select search results in chronological order. You can also click on parts of the time line to get month to month results from a certain year, etc. The earliest results show excerpts from books written in the first millennium.
With all of these handy features, there’s little question why Google has become a name brand for search engines. Try it out and experience the world of Google search at its finest.