Who’s Writing What on Google’s Zeitgeist

It’s that time of year again. I mean, it is that time of year of course, but also time for Google’s annual roundup of who’s been searching for what over the last 12 months. The Zeitgeist gives a rough idea of what’s been going on in the wide world, and what people have been most interested in.

Amongst the fastest rises searches were the Royal Wedding, the iPhone 5 (still to be released) and musician Adele. Not surprising, as these have all been heavy hitting news items in 2011, and naturally we’re all hitting up Google for more information.

The ‘what is’ searches (that is, searches on Google that started with ‘What is…’ or ‘What are…’ proved to be a little more abstract. Coming in at number four was ‘What are piles?’ – a strange question, given that if you are Googling it you probably have one.

More interesting than the stats is how different media are reporting on the list. It’s a bit of a given the majority of reporters will have their interest sparked, given it’s quite a fun story, it’s the end of the year/silly season and it has Google’s clout behind it. But still, everyone has a different take. Here’s some examples;

  • BBC News ran with a piece headlining the Royal Wedding, but interestingly decided to focus on the second highest ‘What is…’ question, examining exactly why people have been asking ‘What is scampi?’ When I say examining, they went so far as to interview David Jarrad, director of the Shellfish Association of Great Britain, to get his opinion. Sadly, he didn’t have much more of a clue than the rest of us, telling the BBC “I’m quite surprised. It has been a traditional pub grub for many decades and it remains the UK’s most popular and valuable shellfish by a long way”. That’s right, still most popular shellfish. In your face shrimps.
  • In a completely different tact, the Telegraph leads with a bit of a kicking for deputy PM Nick Clegg. Seems the searches for Clegg have declined even faster than those for, um, what’s his name – the one who won X Factor last year.
  • The Mail led with the most searched celebrity, Kim Kardashian. Yeah.

Check the full Top 10s below, and Google’s own Zeitgeist website is also online with the new information.

And just for the record, scampi is “the tail of a Nephrops, also known as a Dublin Bay prawn or Norwegian lobster”, in case anyone was wondering.

Fastest Raising Searches

  • Royal wedding
  • iPhone 5
  • FIFA 12
  • Groupon
  • iPad 2
  • Ryan Dunn
  • Adele
  • Minecraft
  • Rebecca Black
  • Ed Sheeran

Top ‘What is?’ Searches

  • What is AV
  • What is scampi
  • What are truffles
  • What are piles
  • What is 4D
  • What are cookies
  • What is copyright
  • What is Zumba
  • What is iCloud
  • What is probate