Part of staying on the cutting edge of business is staying in touch with the zeitgeist. These days, there's no better place to track who's picking up steam and who's fading away than on Google, the wildly popular search engine (with more than 150 million queries a day) that has worked its way into the culture of business.
The Google Zeitgeist page (www.google.com/press/zeitgeist.html) is a window into fast-moving trends. Google updates the page monthly, weekly, or even daily to identify people, subjects, and languages that are gaining most in popularity and falling the fastest (measured by how many Google users search for specific terms). The site is a geek's dream, documenting which Web browsers people use to access Google (not good news for Netscape) and the top ways people misspell the names of file-sharing services such as Morpheus and Audiogalaxy.
The charts and graphs on the colorful page document how fickle — and how predictable — the zeitgeist can be. The last time we checked, among the top-10 gaining queries were the California lottery and Jedi Knight 2. The top-10 women searched for included — surprise! — Pamela Anderson, Anna Kournikova, and Britney Spears. It seems that some fashions never go out of style.
A version of this article appeared in the June 2002 issue of Fast Company magazine.