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December 21, 2006

Zeitgeist

Zeit·geist
–noun, German.

The spirit of the time; general trend of thought or feeling characteristic of a particular period of time.

"Zeitgeist, to us, is a measure of the pushpins in the bulletin board of worldwide understanding of what we want to know," said Douglas Merrill, Google's vice president of engineering, who analyzes the most rapidly growing search terms every week for clues about the online world's interests. "It's things in the world we want to care about."
Washington Post

Google has released its 2006 Zeitgeist list. This is the list of terms that people typed into Google in 2006. It allows us a small peek at what the world's mind share was focused on in 2006. Note: Google filters out sex term searches. One can only imagine what the actual Zeitgeist list would look like. I shudder to think.

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

Bebo is an online networking site similar to MySpace. Metacafe is a video sharing online community similar to YouTube (which did not make the list). Folks are probably using Google like a navigation window (too lazy to type in the "www" and the ".com" perhaps.

Still, it seems to confirm Time Magazine's choice of person of the year as "you". It also shows the rise of Web 2.0. Web 2.0 is term that is gaining currency, though it is admittedly squishy. Wiki (which is part of Web 2.0) defines it as "a phrase coined by O'Reilly Media in 2004, [that] refers to a perceived or proposed second generation of Internet-based services—such as social networking sites, wikis, communication tools, and folksonomies—that emphasize online collaboration and sharing among users." Basically, web users are transforming from reader/consumers to active participants on the web.

In case you were wondering, the top news searches for the year were "Paris Hilton" and "Orlando Bloom" ... as if we needed further confirmation that as a culture, we are "amusing ourselves to death."

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