During any given time period, the moods of a nation, their curiosities, and their needs vary. In ancient times, you know like before Google, now to be referred to as B.G, the cultural temperature of a nation was discovered by asking people questions.
Since the arrival of the Internet and our savior Google, now to be referred to as A.G. we do the asking and Google just runs some database reports and ba-da-boom ba-da-bing, we quickly have a good idea what's on our minds. Over at Google, they refer to this feature as Google Zeitgeist. Note: zeitgeist means "the general intellectual, moral, and cultural climate of an era."
Puerto Rico - Top Gaining Google Queries: June 2008*
- celula (cell)
- Mapa de Puerto Rico
- marisa miller (model)
- fallen angel
- fruity loops
- Zooey Deschanel
- ocean blue
- Indiana Jones
- naruto wallpaper
- letras chinas (Chinese characters)
Not to be outdone, Yahoo, in association with Telemundo has started producing their own zeitgeist, called "10 Principales Búsquedas." While these search terms are not strictly from searches in Puerto Rico, they do give us the best view into what people are searching for in Yahoo.
Top 10 Yahoo/Telemundo Queries: July 2008*
- Sin Senos no hay Paraíso
- Miss Universo del 2008
- Monica Bellucci
- Amor y sexo
- Aracely Arámbula
- Galilea Montijo
- Riesgos de la marihuana
- Ingrid Betancourt
- Alimentos orgánicos
What's this all mean? What jumps out at me is the complete absence of any terms relating to the economy, energy, gasoline, credit cards, or what we can call matters of finance or running a home. I think, like television, most people are using the Internet to entertain themselves and/or distance themselves from the day to day worries of life.
I think the Yahoo list makes more sense. There are many search terms related to the events of June, which you would expect them to rank high in the total number of searches. However, while an interesting perspective, the Google list is like WTF, hermaphrodites? You have to wonder what kind of thought process, or links one has to go through to end up with the idea "Hey, let's look up hermaphrodite on the Internet!"
Another difference I would wager is that the Google list represents a younger demographic. The list has many terms that I'd associate with searches made from users between the ages of 16 and 24.
On the other hand the Yahoo list represents, current events, and lacks anything of specific interest to a younger generation. Then there's "Riesgos de la marihuana." Seriously, how many kids are going to search for that? The search term they are more likely to use would be more like "How to roll a blunt" or whatever that is in Spanish.
I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions about snakes. If you get bold, go ahead and share them in a comment.
Flickr Creative Commons Contributor: Gerald Yuvallos