At the risk of sounding like a employee with yet another Google posting, I want to talk a bit about the Google Zeitgeist site. It's their public statistics site that shows search trends and patterns.
Their statistics are automatically generated and then the humans look for trends and pull out some for the public.
They certainly reveal things about our times in a sociological way. There does seem to be a "pop" culture orientation, but that probably is the Net culture. (I bolded a few below that are EdTech in nature.)
Zeitgeist is a German term (zeit = time geist = ghost) meaning "spirit of the time" and it often refers to the moral and intellectual trends of a given era.
Google.com - Top Searches in 2006 1. bebo 2. myspace 3. world cup 4. metacafe 5. radioblog 6. wikipedia 7. video 8. rebelde 9. mininova 10. wiki
Google News - Top Searches in 2006 1. paris hilton 2. orlando bloom 3. cancer 4. podcasting 5. hurricane katrina 6. bankruptcy 7. martina hingis 8. autism 9. 2006 nfl draft 10. celebrity big brother 2006
How to... 1. how to refinance 2. how to wiki 3. how to drift 4. how to podcast 5. how to scream 6. how to levitate 7. how to tattoo 8. how to blog 9. how to kickflip 10. how to draw
Perhaps you know that if you type into the Google search box define: and then any word, it will bring back sites that have definitions (rather than just pages with the word) So here is what we were trying to define in 2006. I had to look a few up just to find out what the word meant (obviously, this is internationally flavored) 1. define promiscuous 2. define web 2.0 3. define ftw 4. define calidad 5. define ajax 6. define ensayo 7. define ciencia 8. define administracion 9. define harlequin 10. define filosofia
There are less serious stats too. Look at the ticket searches for the U.S. (Mets playoff tickets and no mention of our Yankees? Gotta question those stats! 1. cheetah girls tickets 2. mets playoff tickets 3. the fray tickets 4. bob seger tickets 5. chris brown tickets 6. jersey boys tickets 7. carlos mencia tickets 8. tiger tickets 9. tigers tickets 10. rutgers football tickets
And you can check the "Zeitgeist This Week" which they list as "Gaining Search Queries" Here's stats for the week ending December 30, 2006. 1. james brown 2. saddam hussein 3. che 4. norad 5. gerald ford 6. jessica cutler 7. new years 8. dreamgirls 9. music downloads 10. weight watchers