Thursday, 11 December 2008

Google Zeitgeist 2008 - dominated by social networks, gaming and iPhone

Google have just released their ‘Zeitgeist’ for 2008 and it reveals the ‘fastest rising’ and ‘most searched for’ terms of 2008. This year the Google Zeitgeist also gives country specific information for both the fastest rising and most popular search terms and there are certain trends that are common across a number of these countries – notably around social networks, gaming and iPhone. The trends and insight that can be gained from Zeitgeist 2008 data can be harnessed to give insight for strategy and provide useful ideas for futurology.

Google Zeitgeist 2008
Google Zeitgeist 2008 - fastest rising terms (Global) - click for larger image


In Brazil 3 of the most popular search terms are around games (‘jogos’, ‘jogo’ and ‘jogos de meninas’ (games for girls). Searches for games are also popular in Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Germany, Spain, Malaysia, Mexico, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa and the UK.


iPhone is prominent in fastest rising terms for a number of countries. Number 1 in Australia, Netherlands and Sweden, whilst also featured in the Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, Singapore, the UK and the USA.

Social Networks

Social networks dominate both the most searched for terms and the fastest rising terms. Facebook is everywhere - the data for the majority of countries analysed features ‘Facebook’ in either the fastest rising terms or the most searched for, with ‘Facebook’ often appearing in both lists. Where Facebook is absent from the local Zeitgeist list (notably Brazil, India and the Far East) other SNS sites feature prominently – eg Orkut, Friendster, Hi5, MySpace + local SNS sites like V Kontakte in Russia, Nasza Klasa in Poland and Hyves in Holland.

Zeitgeist 2008 shows the future is social?

The Zeitgeist 2008 list shows global trends, but also give fascinating insight into local cultures and national psyches. Swedish people search for ‘Lexikon’ (translation dictionary), New Zealanders were really into the Olympics, the UK population are hooked on the BBC’s On Demand TV catch up service ‘iPlayer’ and Danish people are searching for ‘free.’ The Large Hadron Collider also turns up on a couple of the lists - though Google can't tell you if these searches were prompted by scientific interest or 'End of the World' fear.......

The most striking thing from Google Zeitgeist 2008 though, is the graphic illustration of how internet user habits have fundamentally changed. The dominance of social media / social network search terms offer conclusive proof that the internet really has evolved into a web 2.0. The ideas of sharing and connecting are now entrenched, with the internet being used for both consumption AND creation on a massive, global scale. This creates challenges (and opportunities) for publishers and advertisers, however with the numbers involved there will be consequences for those that don’t embrace ‘social’ in 2009.

It will be interesting to see how many of the social network searches included in this years fastest rising lists migrate to the most popular search lists in 2009!

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Anonymous said...

If you are missing lively, take a look at which provides the best blend between a virtual world and a social network on the web. Also they just launched a facebook app that's very addicting: I would recommend checking it out.

CK Wong said...

Just to share, Google Zeitgeist 2008 from Asia's perspective:

Anonymous said...

By my count, Facebook alone shows up in top ten fastest growing queries for 23 different countries. Two (or more) social network sites (counting YouTube) show up in at least 16 countries' top ten overall search query lists. Global phenomenon of massive proportions no matter how you like it.

Fascinating thing is to see one web generation's standard bearer flag the future in its own data set.