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Google Businesses The Internet

2004 Year-End Google Zeitgeist 482

krgallagher writes "Google has published their Year-End Zeitgeist. In their own words, 'Based on billions of searches conducted by Google users around the world, the 2004 Year-End Zeitgeist offers a unique perspective on the year's major events and trends. We hope you enjoy this aggregate look at what people wanted to know more about this year.' The number one search for all of 2004 is britney spears."
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2004 Year-End Google Zeitgeist

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  • Britney (Score:5, Funny)

    by daniil ( 775990 ) * <> on Thursday December 23, 2004 @02:01PM (#11169665) Journal
    When will it ever end?
    • Re:Britney (Score:4, Funny)

      by superpulpsicle ( 533373 ) on Thursday December 23, 2004 @02:05PM (#11169737)
      There is actually a mistake. She was also supposed to be on the sports list.

      • As surprised as I was to discover that Miss Spears had not become completely irrelevant in 2004, it was far from the biggest shock.

        "Charmed" is the fourth-most Googled show on television!? Really? Charmed? There's actually people out there who care about that show?

        It was the only non-animated series to even make the list.

        I would chalk it up to the "babe factor", but none of the stars of that crap show turned up on the top-ten list of female celebrity image searches (while a few of the ones on that lis
    • by StressGuy ( 472374 ) on Thursday December 23, 2004 @02:11PM (#11169814)
      "...and lo, a woman-child child shall be born, and she shall wear a head-dress of round plasic globes on her head as a child....upon the maturation of this child, when the platic globes are removed from her head and become infused in her chest....the end of the world shall surely be near...."

      I'm parphrasing...but it's something like that I'm sure :)

      • And lo, verily doth Nostradamus say:

        "The day that she will be hailed as Queen,
        The day after the benediction the prayer:
        The reckoning is right and valid,
        Once humble never was one so proud."

        (Century X, quatraine 19)

        Clearly, this must be a prophecy of Britney topping Google Zeitgeist several years in a row.
    • Re:Britney (Score:4, Interesting)

      by RespekMyAthorati ( 798091 ) on Thursday December 23, 2004 @02:20PM (#11169933)
      We should be glad that a fellow geek is so popular: [].
    • Re:Britney (Score:3, Funny)

      by L. VeGas ( 580015 )
      I, for one, am pleased as punch that our young people look up to a hard-working role model like Britney. Did you know that she did the singing on all her albums? She's cute as a button and twice as smart.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Nowhere on that page will you see a single popular search for BSD. You know what this confirms...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 23, 2004 @02:02PM (#11169674)
    Is my browser stats.

    (No, I don't want stats from some other site. I want them from the Zeitgeist!)
  • Porn (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Porn doesn't seem to be in much of the mix. If you look at the 'images', blow-job doesn't even show up.
    • Re:Porn (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bigberk ( 547360 )
      That's because their zeitgeist is more of a pop culture / marketing / fun-review-of-trends thing. I wouldn't take it too seriously.
    • Re:Porn (Score:2, Insightful)

      by enosys ( 705759 )
      I bet that if they had a "Popular Image Queries" list there would be several porn queries on it. A porn query might even be on the #1 spot. Unfortunately you they just have specific categories. Note that there is no "Popular News Queries" list either (only categories) so you can't say that they decided to not have a general image query list just because of porn.
  • SCO (Score:3, Informative)

    by flatface ( 611167 ) * on Thursday December 23, 2004 @02:02PM (#11169695)
    Heh, it's ... nice to see SCO as the top searched-for company. I guess it pays to be in that position, but we're gonna have to wait and see if it changes anything. []
  • by midol ( 752608 ) on Thursday December 23, 2004 @02:03PM (#11169700)
    When the human race evolves into an intelligent species?
  • by iopha ( 626985 ) on Thursday December 23, 2004 @02:03PM (#11169703) Homepage
    Actually, the top four queries were all women: Spears, Hilton, Aguilera, Anderson. I think they image search results might be skewing the data. :D
  • SCO (Score:5, Insightful)

    by basic0 ( 182925 ) <> on Thursday December 23, 2004 @02:03PM (#11169710)
    Britney Spears is the top search..and scroll down a bit to "top company searches" to see that SCO is in the lead. This confirms my theory that people are fascinated with stupidity in all it's forms.
    • This confirms my theory that people are fascinated with stupidity in all it's forms.

      Would this be the part where someone points out that the correct word is "its," not "it's?"
  • SCO (Score:2, Redundant)

    by confusion ( 14388 )
    Interestingly, SCO came in at #1 on the company queries...

    I'm not going to say anything about the Britney Spears bit...

    Jerry []

    • SCO. That was me. And "linux". That was me too.

      But "Britney"? I have no idea where that came from. There was that one night when I drank all those Bud Lights...
  • by oexeo ( 816786 ) on Thursday December 23, 2004 @02:04PM (#11169718)
    The unfiltered top 10:

    1. britney spears nude
    2. paris hilton nude
    3. christina aguilera nude
    4. pamela anderson nude
    5. adult chat
    6. games warez
    7. carmen electra nude
    8. orlando bloom nude
    9. harry potter warez
    10. mp3 warez

  • why can't we just say Year-End Summary, which is what it is?

    i guess i'm missing some subtle nuance of the word?

  • Bill Hicks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DarkHelmet ( 120004 ) * <> on Thursday December 23, 2004 @02:07PM (#11169754) Homepage
    This isn't a perfect quotation but...

    We have the ability to keep knowledge of some of the greatest minds, and provide that knowledge to everyone? But no! "What's that little girl singing about? Let's put her on a CD, to be kept forever!"

    I wish I had the exact quote, but it felt fitting to find out that this is what people want to know about on the Internet.


  • in finding intelligent life on earth...

    Seriously though, it just shows how many numbnuts there are out there.

    It's no wonder there's a monkey in the white house again ...
  • by Prince Vegeta SSJ4 ( 718736 ) on Thursday December 23, 2004 @02:07PM (#11169761)
    Everyone neither should be or even need be, an intellectual or nerd or scholar or whatever. We need all types of people in this world. But it is kind of scary that the most popular topics on the most popular information 'getter' are:

    Geez, everything is entertainment related, with almost no educational value - unless of course the mp3 search is for people looking into how various compression algorithms work. Sometimes, I think I've found the reason why the world is going screwy. Maybe not.

    • 1. britney spears
    • 2. paris hilton
    • 3. christina aguilera
    • 4. pamela anderson
    • 5. chat
    • 6. games
    • 7. carmen electra
    • 8. orlando bloom
    • 9. harry potter
    • 10. mp3
    • key word searches. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by westlake ( 615356 ) on Thursday December 23, 2004 @02:43PM (#11170174)
      Geez, everything is entertainment related, with almost no educational value

      All but a handful of the top-ranking searches required only one or two familiar keywords to yield meaningful results, a proper name, a place, a single object of interest, such as a sport like cricket.

      But will the Zeitgeist total queries that ask the same question in many different ways because users don't know the keywords needed to define and limit their search?

    • by MrHanky ( 141717 ) on Thursday December 23, 2004 @02:43PM (#11170178) Homepage Journal
      But that shouldn't be surprising at all. If you're a scholar, perhaps you'll search for Marting Heidegger and Jacques Derrida []. But hey, maybe not. Maybe you're into computer science and OS design []. Or maybe some particular marxist historian, a religious thinker, problems in geology, or the writing of T. S. Eliot or even that of Norman Mailer. But it's pretty fucking unlikely that you're interested in all of these, or that you'd actually believe you could find useful information about Heidegger on the intarweb.

      A different person would probably come up with very different examples. You can specialize in lots of stuff, and most of this is of no interest to the general population.

      On the other hand, if you're searching for stuff that you're not really that interested in, it's more likely to be on Google's list of top searches. Come to think of it, I'm quite sure I've contributed to the list after thinking: 'Who is Paris Hilton, and why should I care?' I think many people must have been asking the same question this year. Of course, this isn't so much because people are stupid as it is because the media is a huge family of incestuous whores, and Spears, Hilton, et al are perfectly adapted to that environment, as parasites living in the media's collective jizz.
    • by Anne_Nonymous ( 313852 ) on Thursday December 23, 2004 @03:42PM (#11170741) Homepage Journal
      Top 10 Searches by the /. Cognoscente

      1. network propagation theory
      2. themes in byzantine art
      3. rna transcription chemistry
      4. bletchley park
      5. kafkan high modernism
      6. plank's constant
      7. differential analysis on manifolds with corners
      8. kurosawa and the japanese literary tradition
      9. hyaluronic acid stabilizers
      10. britney spears
  • by caluml ( 551744 ) <slashdot@spamgoe ... minus poet> on Thursday December 23, 2004 @02:08PM (#11169771) Homepage
    I'm rather upset that I don't even appear in the top 10 popular men. When will people recognise me? Maybe I'll have to kill a bunch of people...?
    • I dunno, it's gonna be pretty damn hard to top George W. Bush...
  • Browser information (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jez9999 ( 618189 ) on Thursday December 23, 2004 @02:08PM (#11169773) Homepage Journal
    Wow, this zeitgeist really sucks now. It's focused on nothing but search info, which I guess is expected from Google - but demographic information be damned, it seems. They should be looking to gather more information on things like browser, OS, country, etc. Just throwing a load of search terms on a page isn't particularly compelling, especially when they're all so predictable.
  • If there is any hope for Western civilization, then the 11th most popular query is for "suicide".
  • Nice to see Spalding Gray at #3.
  • women (Score:2, Funny)

    by clovercase ( 707041 )
    why isnt janet jackson classified into the 'women' category?
  • Where's Rick James, Bitch?!?
    / just sayin'
  • Playstation 2 would have been ahead of xbox if it wasn't also known as PS2. The searches for PS2 + playstation2 would have been ahead of xbox.

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) * on Thursday December 23, 2004 @02:11PM (#11169812)
    The #2 item on local health searches is "hospital". You can just picture millions of people turning to Google before thinking of dialing 911!!

  • please explain? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by vida ( 695022 ) on Thursday December 23, 2004 @02:11PM (#11169816)

    britney spears is the most popular query, but it's 4th on the list of public figures, while paris hilton did not even make the list.

    On the tech stuff category, *kazaa* is the first one and *mp3* the third one, yet *kazaa* did not even make it to the most popular queries one, while mp3 is the tenth string most searched for.

    There are also other inconsistencies, between for example the *most popular male* category and *most popular male celebrity*. (btw, what's the diff?)

    Can somebody shed some insight into this?
  • Or at least they're not very horny.

    The top 4 queries are women's names. The first guy (Orlando Bloom, who was in LOTR) appears after the fifth woman (Carmen Electra, and I don't even know what she did this year that would draw so many searches).

  • by bigberk ( 547360 ) <> on Thursday December 23, 2004 @02:12PM (#11169825)
    It's clear now. We'll be seeing a lot more of britney spears and paris hilton in bikinis, mini skirts and prom dresses... possibly while they watch CNN, the simpsons, or listen to 'YMCA' on their ipods.
  • by eln ( 21727 ) on Thursday December 23, 2004 @02:17PM (#11169884)
    So since George W. Bush was the number one public figure search, and John Kerry was third, behind Janet Jackson, can we assume that if Janet Jackson had run for president, she would have had a better chance of winning than John Kerry?

    Maybe if the elections were held closer to the Superbowl.
  • Noticed this at the bottom of the page...

    PigeonRank []

  • britney (Score:2, Insightful)

    by n__0 ( 605442 )
    Popular Queries

    1. britney spears

    2. paris hilton

    Top Public Figures

    1. george w bush

    2. janet jackson

    3. john kerry

    4. britney spears

    Shouldn't britney spears be the top of every list she qualifies for in the zeitgeist if her name is the most popular term overall?
  • Or at least, less US influence.
    Both the Tour de France and Lance Armstrong were more searched for than NFL. Either less US influence, or those looking for NFL don't know how to use a computer.
    • Or NFL fans are more computer literate, and type the URL into the address bar instead of searching for it.

      Or they're more fanatical than TdF fans, and therefore have as their homepage.

      Or is easier to guess than whatever the TdF's home page is.

      Or NFL fans were split between searching for "nfl" and "national football league".

      Or NFL fans just searched for "football" assuming most of the links would be for American-rules football.

      Or possibly there's nothing like enough data for a broad gene

  • I read most of the list, and was obscurely pleased that I have never searched for any of those strings (in many cases, this is only because I knew the web site to go to - I would have searched for "Best Buy" if I hadn't known, for example).

    I was all set to come all over superior to the average luser, with my more refined taste, disdain for pop culture, etc., etc.

    But, much to my dismay, I searched for "roomba" a few months ago.

    Guess I'm just one of the sheeple.

  • It's about time the Cubs beat the Yankees at something!


  • So these are the keywords I should get my site to show up in google under? Hmmmmmm....
  • People have been using Froogle to look at product pictures rather than to buy I think:

    1. bikini
    2. mini skirt
    3. prom dresses
    4. lingerie
    5. little black dress
    6. poncho
    7. t-shirt
    8. sports bra
    9. red dress
    10. low-rise jeans
  • At the bottom they had a link to Pigeon Rank [] which I find very funny. I don't know how recent it is but it's new to me.

    Google is great for the occasional joke like this.

  • I'm kind of wondering if there are a few million people out there with borderline (or not so borderline) cases of obsessive-compulsive disorder who type britney or mp3 into google over and over again hoping for something new to show up.

    It's kind of like the 1-900 phone polls that allow you to vote over and over again for your favorite <whatever> but get corrupted by a few people using their parents' phone line and the redial button.

    If google took more of a one-man one-vote philosophy and only counte
  • One word searches? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JustinXB ( 756624 ) on Thursday December 23, 2004 @02:46PM (#11170206)
    Do people actually use one word searches? Or are these just the most popular searched words? Or does Google aggergate all the different searches into categories? (e.g. "brittney spears CD" and "brittney spears lipsync" ends up as "brittney spears")
  • by dgerman ( 78602 ) on Thursday December 23, 2004 @02:46PM (#11170210) Homepage
    What I find interesting is that some people use google to go ebay, cnn, bbc. Many people are using google not as a search engine, but as a quicker way to get to a site than typing (or even I find it hard to believe that sooo many people don't know the URL for ebay or cnn. Even the BBC has a .com domain!

    It might have to do with the fact that many people use google as their home page (or have a google search box in the browser).
  • Oh Crap!! (Score:5, Funny)

    by cOdEgUru ( 181536 ) * on Thursday December 23, 2004 @03:02PM (#11170370) Homepage Journal
    What a frickin time to release such a list when my wife's standing behind me wondering what the hell is keeping me while being devoid of any interest towards what she is saying:

    Paris Hilton, Britney, Carmen and Pamela.. Oh Crap!!

    I turn around in time to see her look turn in to disgust with the "You and your pervert buddies scored yet again this year!!" before she stomped off in to the kitchen..

    Aaargh..time to take care of the History folder..
  • Amazon?!? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FunWithHeadlines ( 644929 ) on Thursday December 23, 2004 @03:10PM (#11170457) Homepage
    Under Popular Consumer Brand Name it lists companies such as EBay and Amazon. Huh? Is there a person alive who doesn't know how to get to EBay or Amazon? (hint, the word you're typing in Google? Try it in your Address bar of the browser). This is almost as inane as print ads that list AOL keywords that are identical to their URL (" AOL Keyword: nbc")

    "Hmmm..I sure have heard a lot about this there Amazon thing. I wonder how to find it online. I know, I'll ask that Google thingamabog."

    (Slamming my head against my desk repeatedly)

  • Interesting...NOT! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lodragandraoidh ( 639696 ) on Thursday December 23, 2004 @03:29PM (#11170638) Journal
    This is my first time looking at this annual data, and the most striking thing about it is how vanilla it is.

    There is nothing interesting going on; it appears most people are depressingly mundane in their interests and tastes. Where are all the 'rugged individualists', the 'rebels without a cause'? As much as we pay lip service to our desire to stand-out, we are strangely sheepish.

    I am begining to believe Asimov's 'The Marching Morons' is, in fact nonfiction...

    This is why all marketing is incredibly stupid, because it is based on the most common attribute in order to maximize profits.

    Conversely, we have the technology today to automate the personalization of products - which, strange as it may seem, would actually produce more profit (consider, not only would we gather all of the vanilla folks, we would also pull in those wanting unique attributes: X + Y > X every time). Yet most, if not all businesses refrain from this approach.

    Given that - this data is useless to me, other than to make me look around at my fellow men and women for the tell-tale vacuous stare.
  • Sex (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zapfie ( 560589 ) on Thursday December 23, 2004 @03:45PM (#11170766)
    With pornography and sex related items being some of the most popular queries for search engines, why do they never seem to make it in to Google Zeitgeist?
  • Linux? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by xeon4life ( 668430 ) <devin&devintorres,com> on Thursday December 23, 2004 @04:36PM (#11171254) Homepage Journal
    If anyone didn't notice, Linux is number 5 on tech stuff searches. If the same people who search for Britney Spears and Spongebob are searching for Linux, maybe it's making a dent.

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard Aiken