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A Christmas Google
December 20, 2011 8:51 AM   Subscribe

Looking at the rest of the top search results for Christmas is like getting into a time machine that takes you back to a bizarro 2001 in which every single web surfer is a sucker. There are "Hot Links!" and "Fun Things to Do." What we see is the ad hoc, de facto social network formed by people who type Christmas into a search engine. And man, that network is like MySpace for your great aunt who has too many cats.

Sidebar: this may be the first year searches for "Christmas" don't briefly eclipse searches for "porn".
posted by Horace Rumpole (16 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
I don't get that sidebar graph. The increasing porn line just indicates more and more people online, sure. The steady Christmas peak height is....people who own a computer and only turn it on in December to google "christmas"? More and more people online exactly balanced by a smaller and smaller percentage of them dumb enough to think googling "christmas" will do anything useful?
posted by DU at 8:59 AM on December 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


If Google does a Google Doodle for Christmas Day, searches on "Christmas" must spike enormously.
posted by yoink at 9:02 AM on December 20, 2011


The steady Christmas peak height is....people who own a computer and only turn it on in December to google "christmas"?
It's just the way holidays work I suspect.
posted by Western Infidels at 9:15 AM on December 20, 2011


From the article:

At seven, we finally get some serious knowledge dropped on us. The Catholic Encyclopedia hosted at NewAdvent.org has as much on the religious provenance and traditions of the holiday as you could ever want. After the commercial nature and early 2000s web design of the other sites, the Encyclopedia's text-rich design and lack of animated Santas is like balm for the soul.

well, of COURSE that's not as popular, because everyone already KNOWS what Christmas is all about already! Why do I wanna know what some dead guys did when I could be looking up information about how to make angels for my tree or when the sales are at Wal-Mart? That's the real point, man!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:19 AM on December 20, 2011


Maybe these are terms, not standalone searches. Like "christmas pudding recipe" would be a hit for "christmas".
posted by DU at 9:22 AM on December 20, 2011


I just Googled Christmas and I got a little string of lights on top of the search results! nifty! and if you Google Chanukah you get a little string of gold star-of-davids! If you Google "argyle socks" you sadly do not get a string of argyles!
posted by vespabelle at 10:04 AM on December 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


I read this post and half of that article replacing Christmas with China for some reason. It still made sense.
posted by cmoj at 10:19 AM on December 20, 2011


In that sidebar link, I wonder what happened in only 2005 and 2007 that caused "porn" to spike around the same time as Christmas? At first I thought, well, all those people who got a new computer as a gift, what's the first thing they're gonna search for... but then, why not 2006 and 2008-11?
posted by not_on_display at 10:23 AM on December 20, 2011


Aaand I just realized I just read an article describing a google search.
posted by cmoj at 10:27 AM on December 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


Google a word and describe the results. That is some QUALITY REPORTING THERE, BUSTER.
posted by ook at 10:38 AM on December 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


And man, that network is like MySpace for your great aunt who has too many cats.

For most of the last 10 years, I've resembled the last part of that remark. I didn't realize the furries had set up a MySpace account on my behalf, though. How thoughtful!
posted by Currer Belfry at 10:45 AM on December 20, 2011


Oh man, Googling "christmas" reminds me of some old Mac program I had on my ancient, ancient iMac—you know, the ones that you can turn into awesome fishbowls? the ones that look like candy? Anyway, this program put Christmas lights around the edge of your screen. Now I want to do that with my new Mac. Someone tell me how.
posted by good day merlock at 10:52 AM on December 20, 2011


Anyway, this program put Christmas lights around the edge of your screen. Now I want to do that with my new Mac. Someone tell me how.

You want MacLampsX 2.0SL. The results look like this. I just tested it and it works on 10.7.
posted by jedicus at 11:20 AM on December 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


DU: Maybe these are terms, not standalone searches. Like "christmas pudding recipe" would be a hit for "christmas".
Your shock that anyone in their right mind would type "Christmas" alone into Google surprises me.

I have seen doctors point their browsers at Google, then type "www.mayoclinic.com" into the Google search box, then click the first result. As a deliberate, intentional, non-accidental way of getting to the Mayo Clinic website.

Many non-tech people do that sort of thing, using Google as a gateway to the whole web, or using "dumb" Google searches as a starting point in an iterative process of refining searches. For many, Google is what comes up when they open the browser, after all; why not use it? Even if some useless corporate homepage is forced on them, they can eventually get to anyplace by committing only a single URL to memory. So why not do that?

I not sure typing "Christmas" into Google is really so useless. If you're looking for a little general background, history, and context, the first link that comes back is the Wikipedia article, probably the perfect starting place. You and I would probably go directly to the wiki, but most people are more concerned with the ultimate results than they are with optimizing every single second of their surfing.

The fact that we paid $5 to get the chance to discuss things on the internet nearly automatically puts us into an elite group of sophisticated web users, compared to the general public as a whole.
posted by Western Infidels at 11:20 AM on December 20, 2011


Of course, my results for "Christmas" and your results for "Christmas" on Google may vary greatly.
posted by J.W. at 1:11 PM on December 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was recently sent a set of "12 Dogs of Christmas" animated, singing e-cards by well-meaning relatives.

Yes, twelve cards, one for each day of Christmas; they're still coming. I opened some with the sound off, but the rest are piling up in my inbox. Since the card hosting website seems to be bad, my other spam has increased accordingly.
posted by bad grammar at 6:20 PM on December 20, 2011


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