Wednesday, January 12, 2005


The Google Zeitgeist should be every Marketing persons' dream. It provides the Buzz hapenning in the world. In marketing understanding trends is very important. Data and Patterns are both part of the game, but Patterns are important for many reasons. One it helps us to understand the present and possibly predict the future. This is important for consumer products, car manufacturers, fashion designers and anybody who wants to sell more (who doesn't). Also, different months of a year show different consumer tastes. Google has released the "2004 Year-End Google Zeitgeist: Search patterns, trends, and surprises.

From the 2004 Zeitgeist
Britney Spears - tops all queries
eBay - tops consumer brand names
Janet Jackson - sandwiched between George W and John Kerry.
Poker chips - top sports query
iPod - most popular consumer electronics
Before we go forward, lets see what a Zeitgeist means and how does google create this list.

Zeitgeist Explained
zeit·geist | Pronunciation: 'tsIt-"gIst, 'zIt | Function: noun | Etymology: German, from Zeit (time) + Geist (spirit) | Date: 1884 | Meaning: the general intellectual, moral, and cultural climate of an era.

from Merriam-Webster's Collegiate® Dictionary.

How is the Zeitgeist created?

Pulling together interesting search trends and patterns requires Google’s human and computing power together. Search statistics are automatically generated based on the millions of searches conducted on Google over a given period of time - weekly, monthly, and annually. With some help from humans, and a pigeon or two when they have time, these statistics and trends make their way from the depths of Google's hard drives to become the Google Zeitgeist report.

The Google Zeitgeist is available in the worldwide flavour, international countrywise flavour and the neatly designed Interactive Zeitgesit (flash). Google provides archives starting from the year 2001 through 2005 on a weekly basis and monthly basis. This is absolutely fantastic.

The following categories are available in the Google Zeitgeist.

Weekly Lists

The weekly lists has the Top 10 gaining queries and the Top 10 declining queries.

Monthly Lists

The monthly lists provides trends based on different categories. It has also a international section covering a large number of countries.

Google Queries
  • Popular Women
  • Popular Men
  • Popular Travel Queries
  • Popular Entertainment Queries

Google News Queries

  • Popular News Sources
  • Popular Queries
  • Top Names in the News

Google Image Search Queries

  • Popular Queries
  • Factoids

Countries covered - Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom

Year End Zeitgeist

The year end Zeitgeist is more comprehensive covering regular searches, news searches, image questies, Froogle quesries and local searches. Froogle and Local searches provide a great opportunity for marketers of all kinds to drill further into the trends.

Google Queries

  • Popular Queries
  • Popular Men
  • Popular Women
  • Popular Television Shows
  • Popular Tech Stuff
  • Popular Consumer Brand

Google News Queries

  • Popular Country Queries
  • Popular Sports Topics
  • Top Public Figures
  • Popular News Outlets
  • Top Company Queries
  • In Remembrance...

Google Image Search Queries

  • Popular Cars
  • Popular Cartoons
  • Popular Female Celebrities
  • Popular Male Celebrities

Froogle Queries

  • Popular Consumer Electronics
  • Top Clothing Queries
  • Popular Computer Goods
  • Top Sports and Hobbies
  • Popular Brand Names
  • Popular Shoe Brands

Google Local Search Queries

  • Top Hotel Chains
  • Popular Retail Chains
  • Popular Health Services
  • Popular Sports Services
  • Top Professional Services
  • Popular Entertainment
  • Popular Cuisines

International Year End Zeitgeist

Countries covered - Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom

The International Zeitgeists' has only limited categories which vary from country to country.


Yahoo, the next leading search engine after Google provides similar information called the Yahoo Buzz Index. It also has a weekly log with a summing up article.

Daily Buzz Log
The Yahoo 2004 year end Buzz Log has the following section.

MSN has a list of popular searches on its home page, however its main year end compilation is a flash presentation. The information provided is far less than Google and Yahoo. It also hosts this page on a different domain name -


Jeeves IQ from Ask Jeeves and Lucos 50 .

Of the top search companies, one important aspect of a companys' culture is evident. Google is very open about its data, Yahoo follows google and MSN is the worst of them all.

One thing is clear, the ability to use the available technology in the world is an important skill. In fact understanding the various features and using Google is by itself a skill worth putting in your resume.

Nancy Blachmans' Google Guide is a good place to start understanding Google. In fact UC Berkely has started a course titled "Googling to the Max". The handouts are a good way to start learning the skills. This is part of their Teaching Library Internet Workshops, but it should be useful for everybody. Infact, the Masters in Business Administration course should have one as part of the curriculum.

Update : A Interview with Nancy Blachman, co-author of "How to Do Everything with Google." and the creator of


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