Google Zeitgeist reveals top searches for 2011: I don't want to live on this planet anymore

Google Zeitgeist reveals top searches for 2011: I don't want to live on this planet anymore

Summary: The Google Zeitgeist 2011 report finds that searchers worldwide were more interested in reality television and celebrities than current events.

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TOPICS: Google
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Apologies to Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth, but after finding out that "Friday" songstress Rebecca Black was the number one fastest-rising search topic on Google in 2011, I found myself repeating his web-famous expression of exasperation. That factoid, and many more depressing ones, can be found in Google's Zeitgeist 2011 report.

While the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor understandably charted in almost every country where Google tracked search results. But for the most part, the top 10 fastest-rising search terms globally were celebrities (Steve Jobs, Casey Anthony, Ryan Dunn, Adele) and consumer technology (iPhone 5, Google+, Battlefield 3, iPad 2). Google also gives an honorable mention on that global list to - sigh- planking.

I was pleased to see that MySpace topped the list of fastest-falling search terms. But seeing that the nonexistent Apple iPhone 5 topped the fall of Gaddafi and the revolution in Libya on the Google News trends list wiped the smile off my face. Similarly, seeing Amy Winehouse beat out Osama Bin Laden for Google searches made me resent my membership in Homo sapiens.

ZDNet's own Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has an in-depth breakdown of what the Google Zeitgeist 2011 report might mean for the technology market at large. But I had to get my bitter, curmudgeonly two cents out there, too.

Topic: Google

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  • RE: Google Zeitgeist reveals top searches for 2011: I don't want to live on this planet anymore

    This author is clearly a grumpy old curmudgeon who has no respect for common people and thinks he is 'holier than thou' because he is too good for popular culture!
    MW3Proshoota
    • I think you miss the point ...

      @MW3Proshoota I'm sure he's also interested in popular culture to some degree, and even some of the more trivial aspects of life. BUT ... from where I stand, I agree with him. While I do my own fair amount of searches on Celebrities, and trivial happenings around the world, I also search on the far more important things that affect the world and the people that live in it.<br><br>To sum it up, it's a sad state of affairs when a Video Game (Battlefield 3) gets more search requests than an event that could potentially wipe out a G20 Nation, effectively ruin a large land mass for decades, and affect every person on the face of the planet (The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor).<br><br>Fun is fun, but sometimes it's necessary to come back to reality.<br><br>JMHO<br><br>Ludo
      Ludovit
  • What do you expect from the legions of non thinkers

    churned out by primary education systems more interested in their unions and secondary institutions staffed by ultra liberal wing nuts? If they all vote for comrade Obama again they'll all get what they really deserve. They'll be welcome to occupy and community organize what ever they want. The producers will strike out to recreate greatness else where.
    Johnny Vegas
    • RE: Google Zeitgeist reveals top searches for 2011: I don't want to live on this planet anymore

      @Johnny Vegas

      From the tone of your response it seems your political perspective is just a bit warped. Do you really think liberal thinking and unions are responsible for the propensity for google users to primarily search for topics related to reality TV instead of current events populated by mega-disasters like multiple meltdowns in Japan? I am actually heartened by the dozens (if not hundreds) of protest rallies where Americans are finally beginning to rebel against their exploitation by the ultra-rich -- who are far more interested in stuffing their pockets with cash than the welfare of our nation. But in those encampments they probably don't have great access to google, so maybe that explains it. Frankly, when I think of legions of non-thinkers, I think more about those attending rallies for the current crop of GOP candidates. The best you can make of most of these candidates are that they are either intentionally dishonest or at best, delusional. Sorry for being a bit off track here, but you veered off first.
      davidlfoster
      • RE: Google Zeitgeist reveals top searches for 2011: I don't want to live on this planet anymore

        @davidlfoster Ironically. a commissioned poll for Entertainment Weekly just revealed that it is conservatives who are most enamored by far by reality tv (being in love with shows like Deadliest Catch, Swamp Loggers - their favorite, American Pickers, Pawn Stars and Swamp People). Liberals preferred hip, trendy shows like 30 Rock and Glee and It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia.
        I won't get into the Pew research study that showed that the more news people watched, the better informed they were about current events - except for FOX news, where the more one watched it, the lower one scored, and the only group to have perfect scores were the tiny minority who identified NPR as their principal source of information. That was about the Iraq invasion and aftermath. A more recent study found "people who watch Fox News are 18-points less likely to know that Egyptians overthrew their government and 6-points less likely to know that Syrians have not yet overthrown their government compared to those who watch no news."

        Yet a poster who thinks Obama (or anyone who won't set the tax rate for the wealthiest 1% to zero and exempt unearned income) is a Communist and that unions have power is lecturing ZDNet readers about a broken education system without holding himself up as an example...
        jgm@...
    • RE: Google Zeitgeist reveals top searches for 2011: I don't want to live on this planet anymore

      @Johnny Vegas <br>Come on, Johnny! This is what I expect from educated people, and you and the blogger have both missed the point. If I want news about Fukushima, I know where to find it - BBC, New Scientist, Guardian - but if I want to track down trivia on Fox, I have to Google for it.
      Ken.McAllister@...
  • I am not surprised

    as every new technology commercial I have seen is geared towards what you can do with these devices: "Watch TV or Movie, download music or video, share pictures or emails, text easilly with the keyboard, play a game, or find a restaurant", it is no wonder today's youth purchases these devices to do just that.

    Why worry about serious things when you can escape all day long into your iPad or other device?
    John Zern
  • Time Well Spent

    Such a high-minded author should be writing research papers and doing investigative journalism rather than writing for a common tech blog.
    -Hinano-
  • RE: Google Zeitgeist reveals top searches for 2011: I don't want to live on this planet anymore

    Stupid article. I googled a number of things I did not read in the news. I just followed the headlines and read the articles on the new about Libya. There are a lot of things I kept up with in the news that I never googled once. I only google things I am not keeping up with.
    hayneiii@...
    • RE: Google Zeitgeist reveals top searches for 2011: I don't want to live on this planet anymore

      @hayneiii@...
      Exactly. I already know where the news sites are. I don't need to "google it." The author is a moron. On top of that, what makes the goings on in Libya inherently more important than Battlefield 3? Are we not allowed to entertain ourselves? We are only allowed to delve into geopolitics? If he is so concerned about Libya or other matters he should DO something about it, not just "google it." And if he thinks we should all join him in his concerns then he should rally us, not ridicule us. Worthless little man.
      lippidp
  • RE: Google Zeitgeist reveals top searches for 2011: I don't want to live on this planet anymore

    I would venture that the results are more complicated that they look.
    1. TV does a better job with natural disasters
    2. Most people who search after work on the internet are looking to relax and will not watch stressing events
    3. If you are searching for something you are looking to buy something or to see if it is worth getting.
    These are just some factors, when put together, can create a false illusion of misplaced priorities. This doesn't mean that the number of one celled humanoids is diminishing in number.
    rgor@...
  • RE: Google Zeitgeist reveals top searches for 2011: I don't want to live on this planet anymore

    Though I use Google a lot, my searches have never been in the top ten.
    Somehow I take comfort for seeking knowledge, art, and entertainment that is not mainstream.
    Agnostic_OS
  • Come on people

    It's clear that the masses are becoming more and more enamored with stupidity. don't be upset if you are part of that mass exodus in intelligence or that you love to look at the suffering of others. While the internet and Google make it easy to track and log this trend, it does not mean that it is somehow a new trend. People don't read and most could care less about the events of life that occur outside of their personal sphere of influence. That does not make them bad people, only average people.
    DS-Solutions
  • RE: Google Zeitgeist reveals top searches for 2011: I don't want to live on this planet anymore

    I just did a Wolfram Alpha calculation...
    population of the earth - number of internet users
    the answer was almost 5 billion so don't leave the planet just yet...
    timdowd