Google is uniquely positioned to tell us what we cared about in the year 2010 — and to that end, they’ve summarized all of the year’s hottest searches into a terrific online app, Google Zeitgeist. It’s all pretty straightforward, allowing you to see what searches were hot, and what events drove those searches.
The whole thing kicks off with a summary of the year’s big global events — you can watch searches around the world rising and falling throughout the year, using a time lapse slider. You can also compare events to each other — so here’s the World Cup versus the BP Oil Spill:
You can also see a bar chart of the fastest rising search terms, for the entire year. In other words, the stuff that generated the most immediate, most heated buzz:
Upon clicking each search term, you can then see what actual events drove those search spikes. For example, iPad was a rocketship on the internet when it was first announced. But can you guess what caused its second highest search spike during the entire year? It was the fact that the iPad didn’t have the iFart application:
But really, where it gets crazy interesting is a long list of categorized links on the Zeitgeist homepage — allowing you to see detailed breakdowns of the fastest rising Sports or Celebrities stories, for example. So here’s a chart of the search traffic for Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga — there’s an option again to see the news events that coincided with the traffic. But in the case of that little rascal Bieber, what’s fascinating is the regional breakdown. For some reason, Bieber is HUGE in Indonesia and Madagascar. Which makes us laugh thinking that you can barely go on a Lemur-watching tour without without hearing the sickly strains of “Baby”:
And you were wondering about Lady Gaga? She’s a monster in…Mongolia?!
Anyway, go over to Zeitgeist and let your data nerd demon run wild.