Obama And The Wii
Rappers and 'tween stars pique the curiosity of Americans to a much greater extent than vice presidential politics. If that wasn't clear enough already, Google's annual Zeitgeist list, released Wednesday morning, serves as confirmation.Searches for "who is Biden" ranked just ninth in Google's "who is" search category, behind Miley Cyrus and Lil Wayne, who ranked fourth and fifth, respectively. The vice president-elect finished well below Nos. 1 and 2, "who is Obama" and "who is McCain."
Rappers and 'tween stars pique the curiosity of Americans to a much greater extent than vice presidential politics. If that wasn't clear enough already, Google's annual Zeitgeist list, released Wednesday morning, serves as confirmation.
Searches for "who is Biden" ranked just ninth in Google's "who is" search category, behind Miley Cyrus and Lil Wayne, who ranked fourth and fifth, respectively. The vice president-elect finished well below Nos. 1 and 2, "who is Obama" and "who is McCain."
Google won't share exactly how many times those searches took place, just the relative volume (the company doesn't release the data for competitive reasons and for issues related to online advertising). But users can use the same trend-finding software to discover absurdly useless facts--for example, Jay Leno is slightly more popular than Donkey Kong among searchers over the past five years.
The 2008 rankings reveal more than a few surprises. Somewhat predictably, "Fox" was the leading search term for political news, followed by "CNN" and "ABC." But "SNL" came in eighth, ahead of both "Huffington Post" and "Wall Street Journal," thanks in large part to Tina Fey's timely and scathing parodies of Sarah Palin.
Among devices, the Wii and Wii Fit from Nintendo won spots 1 and 2 among the most searched for products. (Even so, for up until the past couple of weeks, searches for "Obama" outdistanced those for the "Wii.")Pea coats and chocolate fountains were also surprisingly popular.
Romantic rumors linking 'tween stars Nick Jonas and Taylor Swift edged gossip about pop star Jessica Simpson and her quarterback beau Tony Romo, though both finished well behind the ageless Hugh Hefner and pal Holly Madison.
Dark Knight star Heath Ledger had the most-searched obituary; news buffs might be saddened to learn that Bernie Mac finished second, ahead of Tim Russert. Paul Newman ranked eighth.
More predictably, Americans' Internet searches mirrored their concerns, with the economy toward the top of the list. Perhaps the best indicator is the return of the time-honored "layaway"; searches for the once-outdated term spiked in October as the Dow Jones industrial average fell to record lows. Even food and beverage preferences betrayed a hint of economic concern: topping the edible list was the ever-comforting "ice cream," while boozehounds searched for "martini" to ease their pain.
International searchers seemed to have an obsession with social networking. "Facebook" was the most popular search in Belgium, Canada, South Africa and the U.K., while "YouTube" was the most popular search in 10 of the 31 countries ranked by Google, cracking the top 10 in all but South Africa, Russia, South Korea and Thailand.
Those seeking enlightenment on the Internet might have been expecting too much. The most searched "how to" this year was "how to draw," followed by "how to kiss" and "how to write." Coming in 10th is "how to spell," though it might have been much closer to the top had untold errant scholars had their wishes granted before searching.
Finally, the aforementioned Lil Wayne may be more of an Internet celebrity than Joe Biden, but he finished a disappointing seventh in one all-important category: concert ticket searches. The rapper lost out to a bunch of teenaged boys, the Jonas Brothers.
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