Along with minced pies, repeats, The Queen’s Speech and a vague sense of unease the morning after the office party (what I refer to as THE FEAR), Google’s annual Zeitgeist list is fast becoming a Christmas tradition. It’s a list of the phrases that have been searched for the most over the preceding 12 months (excluding adult terms which would otherwise dominate year in, year out): it’s basically a 12 month Google Trends chart.
This year is, I think, the first year that the Zeitgeist has been compiled for countries other than the US which means that you can find out what people have been searching for in countries ranging from Argentina to the United Arab Emirates, Mexico to Malaysia. And, as its second biggest territory (in revenue terms at least) it’s no surprise to see that the UK is one of those countries that now features in Zeitgeist. What is surprising however is the things people have been searching for, or at least how Google describes what people have searching for.
You see one of the lists is related to politics and is described by Google as Politicians (Most Popular). Now of course, what Google means is that these are the most popular search terms that happen to be the names of politicians, but what if Google was actually suggesting that these were the most popular politicians in the UK? It would certainly make for an interesting Cabinet:
- Gordon Brown
- David Cameron
- Barack Obama
- Tony Blair
- Sarah Palin
- John McCain
- George Osborne
- Alistair Darling
- Boris Johnson
- Nicolas Sarkozy
Can you imagine?!
What intrigues me is the reasons that people searched for these names. Some of them are pretty obvious:
- Alistair Darling – to find out who the hell this guy is that’s meant to be saving the economy
- Sarah Palin – for comedy value
- Boris Johnson – to find out who he’s offended now
- Nicolas Sarkozy – in the hope that the photos will also include his wife
- David Cameron – checking whether this old-Etonian has dropped all this man of the people crap
- Tony Blair & Gordon Brown – to find out whether it really is too late to invite the former back to take over from the latter
- George Osbourne – in the hope that there might be some tips on how to get invited on holiday by Russian billionaires
- Barack Obama & John McCain – just to check that the right man really did win
Why do you think people might have been searching for these people?
Zeitgeist image by Eric Rhoads on flickr