Google defied the Mayans and before December 21st they released their annual Zeitgesit Year in Review. What is zeitgeist anyway? ?Noun: The defining spirit or mood of a particular period of history as shown by the ideas and beliefs of the time.
Hmmm. That means that the spirit of 2012 is Whitney Houston, Gangnam Style, and Hurricane Sandy - the top searches in Google's world. You can fine tune the results by country, but for the U.S it only changes to Whitney Houston, Hurricane Sandy and Election 2012 in the top three slots.
For Sweden, they were looking for Hanna Widerstedt, Netflix, Swefilmer, Diablo 3 and Loreen.
Who is Hanna Widerstedt? Turns out she was on Sweden's Big Brother 2012 - the Swedish version of the American reality television series. And she didn't even win! The series was won by another Hanna - a 29 year-old mother of two. Hanna Widerstedt är sveriges mest googlade person!
When we asked the question "What is", we were asking What is SOPA, What is Scientology, What is KONY, What is Yolo and and What is Instagram.
In consumer electronics, the top 3 were searches on iPad 3. Samsung Galaxy S3, and iPad Mini.
If you really want to study the world zeitgeist, it might be easiest to download the pdf copy.
Google Zeitgeist comes from data on 55 countries, but obviously the U.S. dominates the global lists. But Brazil is hot. (Remember Google Orkut?) Of the top 10 TV Shows worldwide, four of them are Brazilian and Brazilians Carolina Dieckmann and Michael Telo made the top 10 Performing Artists.
So what can we learn from this? We humans who are online like entertainment. Sadly, that includes celebrity deaths.
I examine Google Zeitgeist like I watch BBC television and other foreign TV channels - searching for the differences. Maybe a lesson is that we are not so different.
Okay, now I think I will add my New Year's resolution to Google's Resolutions Map. Google Maps plots the resolutions and Google Translate converts them into 44 different languages and we can bubble through submissions from around the world and filter them by type (love, health, finance, etc.). By the way, my resolution is to get a job at Google.
Top 10 Zeitgeist Lists 2008-2012