Google unveils year's top searches

December 10, 2008 Today Google is out with its "Year-End Google Zeitgeist" -- its list of the newest, hottest searches of 2008. While people search in much greater numbers for very routine things -- the company says "weather," "mail" and "Yahoo" are perennials -- it uses an algorithm to break out the "Fastest Rising" search terms of the year. And considering how many billions of searches people make (Google won't give specific numbers, but 60 percent of the world's searches are done on Google sites), the company says the list is a pretty good snapshot of what was on people's minds.

So here's the global list of Fastest Rising searches for 2008:

1. sarah palin
2. beijing 2008
3. facebook login
4. tuenti
5. heath ledger
6. obama
7. nasza klasa
8. wer kennt wen
9. euro 2008
10. jonas brothers

Many of these, at first glance, seem obvious. Sarah Palin may not have been on the winning ticket in November, but she was a new phenomenon -- so people looked her up far more than they did Mr. Obama, who came in sixth.

Sports scored big; note the Olympics (No. 2) and Euro 2008 (a soccer tournament, not the currency, at No. 9).

That's just fine -- but what's with (4) "tuenti," or (7) "nasza klasa," or (8) "wer kennt wen"? The clue is search No. 3 -- "facebook login." Four of the ten hottest new searches were for social networking sites -- in the U.S., Spain, Poland and Germany, respectively.

Poke around Google's list, which you'll find HERE, and do yourself the favor, if you can decipher the languages, of looking at different countries. You'll find it's a small world after all -- "iPhone" is big in one country after another, and Palin is No. 9 even in Australia.

But the Google folks got a kick out of "Jozin Z Bazin," a viral VIDEO that became the fifth-hottest seach in Poland. The title roughly translates to "Joe of the Swamp," recorded in 1978 -- and apologies if you listen, and get the tune stuck in your head for the rest of the week.

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