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December 2, 2010 6:58 AM   Subscribe

A little ahead of schedule, Yahoo, AOL and Bing have released their lists of items most often searched for in 2010. Google hasn't released their list but you can see popular searches using their Insights program.
posted by morganannie (53 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
It amazes me that Brittney Spears is still a top 10 search item.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 7:03 AM on December 2, 2010


So the word 'nude' after the celebrity names is implied or what?
posted by griphus at 7:04 AM on December 2, 2010


We search for that about which we are ignorant, but in our ignorance we fail to search for the things that would end our ignorance.

And then we tweet about it.
posted by etc. at 7:06 AM on December 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


I wonder what marketing data comes out of this.
Walmart shoppers prefer Bing??
posted by MtDewd at 7:06 AM on December 2, 2010


Is there an infodump for the top 20 search terms on Metafilter?

That might actually be interesting...
posted by chavenet at 7:09 AM on December 2, 2010


Too soon. There's still 1/12 of the year to go. Web search activity is continuous.

At least with best-of-the-year music or movie or book lists that come out in late December, it's reasonably certain that nothing worthwhile is going to ship just before New Year's unless the critics got their prescreenings or reviewers' copies.
posted by ardgedee at 7:13 AM on December 2, 2010


"Lady Gaga" "Tea Party"

Just doing my SEO part for Google.
posted by clvrmnky at 7:13 AM on December 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


The 10th most common search on bing is "free"? There is a great yearning for liberty on the internet.

I think the saddest thing about this is that two of those lists warranted news stories from CNN and USA Today, respectively.
posted by DU at 7:16 AM on December 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Lady Gaga" "Tea Party"

Well, she does love the stuff.
posted by griphus at 7:18 AM on December 2, 2010


This bodes well for my new site, http://freekimkardashianhairstylesatwalmart.com.
posted by Wolfdog at 7:19 AM on December 2, 2010


Hm, I would think "Google" would be #1 search item on Yahoo.
posted by mooselini at 7:23 AM on December 2, 2010 [12 favorites]


I was going to make some smart-ass remark about the exclusion of Lycos and AltaVista from this, but it seems they both use primarily Yahoo search results. That fascinates me. Isn't that a bit like creating some basic front page, and using the search field for Google? How does that even count as a separate search engine?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:27 AM on December 2, 2010


Agreed--given the number of times I've seen people type URLs (or, more often, just 'google' or 'facebook' or whatever) into search fields, I'm amazed that none of these kinds of items show up on these lists.
posted by box at 7:31 AM on December 2, 2010


This says more about how each company's PR team wants to roll the data than the actual search terms.
posted by Gucky at 7:43 AM on December 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Who even is Kim Kardashian? Sigh. Bring back Dogpile.
posted by mippy at 7:52 AM on December 2, 2010


People who use Bing seem unusually shallow. What's that about?
posted by seanyboy at 7:58 AM on December 2, 2010


seanyboy: "People who use Bing seem unusually shallow. What's that about?"

Not seeing "Eugene Ionesco" or "the complete works of Rachmaninoff" in the other search engines, either.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:00 AM on December 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing: "How does that even count as a separate search engine?"

It doesn't really. If you're the owner of altavista.com or lycos.com, though, you've got a piece of intellectual property with some decent worth, even if you've been vastly outgunned in the quality search engine making department. The most economically viable choice, once you realize you've lost, is to make a profit-sharing agreement with a vendor and keep collecting ad revenue from the old computers and old people who demand their Altavista, damnit.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 8:03 AM on December 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


It amazes me that Brittney Spears is still a top 10 search item.

It amazes me that people still use AOL search.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:08 AM on December 2, 2010


Michael Jackson: already completely forgotten.
posted by naju at 8:16 AM on December 2, 2010


And no one cares about Kanye West (other than himself. You'd think he'd crack the top 10 just from constantly Googling himself.)
posted by naju at 8:20 AM on December 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Actually, these lists of celebs have nothing in common so much as being astonishingly white.
posted by naju at 8:23 AM on December 2, 2010


In the "Rising searches" list at Google Insights, #4 is "sign in." Does this do something interesting when done from a mobile phone browser, or am I missing something entirely? Googling "sign in" just brings up links for a bunch of different sign in pages - Hotmail, Google Accounts, Bank of America, Verizon, etc.
posted by menschlich at 8:29 AM on December 2, 2010


menschlich, I'm guessing that "sign in" is seen in many searches and the rest of the words are just left out. Just like with "given celebrity nude" or "given celebrity dead" etc. the "given celebrity" makes the list but all the variations of the search do not.
posted by morganannie at 8:36 AM on December 2, 2010


> People who use Bing seem unusually shallow. What's that about?

Bing/MSN Live is the default page installed on Internet Explorer (similarly, a Firefox-branded Google search field is the default on Firefox, and an Apple page is the default on Safari). Further, IE redirects invalid URL structures (eg, "britny speers") to the Bing search engine rather than attempting to process it as if it were valid.

So it captures all the random things people enter into the address bar and the couple of proffered Bing search bars that appear on a default IE installation. So it's more likely to capture lowest-common-denominator behavior from people who haven't filtered themselves out by using Firefox (and its default Google) or Safari (and its default Google) or Chrome (and, well, yeah).

tl;dr: The least tech-savvy are the most likely to use Bing.
posted by ardgedee at 8:46 AM on December 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Who even is Kim Kardashian?

You should use a search engine.
posted by dgaicun at 8:50 AM on December 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


And, you know, grammar.
posted by mikoroshi at 8:54 AM on December 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Who even is Kim Kardashian?

Overheard while buying coffee:

guy 1: What's on the cover of the post today.
guy 2: Kim Kardashian.
guy 1: Oh Good, I don't read enough about her.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:55 AM on December 2, 2010




Also is the number six most searched item on Google really...Google?
posted by jourman2 at 9:03 AM on December 2, 2010


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing: I was going to make some smart-ass remark about the exclusion of Lycos and AltaVista from this, but it seems they both use primarily Yahoo search results. That fascinates me. Isn't that a bit like creating some basic front page, and using the search field for Google? How does that even count as a separate search engine?
It's (a little) worse than that, even: Yahoo search is Bing. Another old-school search site, Hotbot, is "powered by Windows Live," aka Bing. Searches at Lycos, AltaVista, Hotbot, and Yahoo all return Bing's results.

On the one hand, the net is so big, and indexing it is now such a big job, that it may be tremendously wasteful to have a dozen different search providers each maintaining their own vast, energy-sucking data centers necessary to do the job. On the other hand, the consolidation of search to just a handful of providers (and the consolidation of influence that follows) seems to go against the spirit of free enterprise and the open internet, too.
posted by Western Infidels at 9:11 AM on December 2, 2010


> Yahoo search is Bing.

Bing only began providing Yahoo Search's services since late August, and implementation isn't scheduled to be complete until next summer. So which engine powers your results depends on what you're searching and where you're searching from.

For most of its history, the free-text Yahoo Search was provided by third party vendors (Inktomi, Overture (which also powered Altavista)), although Yahoo tended to assimilate them. Yahoo was even rebranding Google search for a while.

That aside, keyword popularity is dictated entirely by the activities of the users of the service and not by the infrastructure generating the results.
posted by ardgedee at 9:23 AM on December 2, 2010


ardgedee,

Do you have any evidence that keyword selection has any effect on Yahoo! being driven by Bing? As far as I know, it's only location based. I'd be curious to see any blog posts you have on it being related to keywords, though.
posted by babble at 9:38 AM on December 2, 2010


Who even is Kim Kardashian?

You should use a search engine.
posted by dgaicun 46 minutes ago [+]
And, you know, grammar.


I could, but given I read this the other day and have absolutely no idea what any of it was, I don't feel it would help. You can, for example, lead an American to Google 'Eamon Holmes', but you can't make him understand what he's for.

Also: it's dialectal emphasis. At least in my dialect. Yay for non-prescriptivism.
posted by mippy at 9:41 AM on December 2, 2010


My local train station sells US magazine (is it US or 'us'?) and they often have people on the front that are unknown entirely here save the sidebar of the Daily Mail. I still keep wondering whether it will tell me anything useful to know who Kate Gosselin is, or whether I should avoid finding out and keep it as 'person whose name reminds me that I really fancied Mark Paul Gosselaar when I was eleven'.
posted by mippy at 9:43 AM on December 2, 2010


It is 'us'.

And it is crap.
posted by morganannie at 9:52 AM on December 2, 2010


See, I know who's on Closer magazine (that or Heat are probably our equivalents, if US has stories about '40 Stone Annie Likes Squashing Men With Her 50-Inch Bum' and 'I Breastfeed My Cat' in between the celeb news) but I have to for my job. At least, that's what I tell myself.

*posts to Popbitch*
posted by mippy at 9:53 AM on December 2, 2010


2011 is going to be all Nicki Minaj, and that's okay.
posted by hermitosis at 9:54 AM on December 2, 2010


Not one single porn-related term in the top 10 at any of these sites? Yeah right.

One entirely unexpected behavior I see often among my non-internet-savvy clients is that they use a search engine like the rest of the world uses the address bar. It's inevitable that a new domain name will garner the following complaint:
Client: I can't get to my website!

Me: That's strange, I can get to it without any problem. Can you walk me through the steps you're taking to get there?

Client: Sure. I open my browser, and there's the thing there, and I type it in, and I get a bunch of other stuff. Not my site!

[Translation: my browser opens to the MSN or Yahoo! home page. I type my URL into the search engine field, and am puzzled when it returns unrelated answers.]

Me: Well, that's the thing we talked about, how it's going to take a little while before the search engines know about your site. Have you tried just typing your URL into your address bar like I showed you that one time?

Client: The what now?
I'm pretty sure that's what's responsible for Yahoo search results for "http://bing.com" and vice versa. It's one of those things where the more you think about it, the less sense it makes.
posted by ErikaB at 10:21 AM on December 2, 2010


Free? People are typing "free lady gaga?"
posted by zzazazz at 10:33 AM on December 2, 2010


zzazazz, yup...probably to find free (illegal?) music downloads.
posted by morganannie at 10:39 AM on December 2, 2010


Free Weezy.
posted by naju at 10:42 AM on December 2, 2010


I stopped typing in addresses about six months or a year ago. I just type the most of the key work in the url into the address bar, and Chrome either magically auto-completes it based on history or sends me to google. And google will then correct my spelling and give me the top results, ordered (as near as I can tell) by their geographic proximity.

Forget "uphill both ways"--we'll be telling our grandkids about typing "http://".
posted by Squid Voltaire at 12:38 PM on December 2, 2010


Also is the number six most searched item on Google really...Google?

Again, that's probably people typing the word "Google" in their address bar and their browser submitting it to Google as a search request since it's not a valid URL.
posted by straight at 12:45 PM on December 2, 2010


Chrome either magically auto-completes it based on history or sends me to google.

Firefox does the same thing but uses "I'm Feeling Lucky" on Google (by default) to make it even faster. If there's an obvious link for your keyword (e.g. "cnn" "metafilter" "american prospect") it will take you straight to that page. If there's not, you (usually) go to search results from Google.

I think Firefox's address bar behavior is truly superior. However, performance issues (damn thing constantly locks up even in safe mode; i should probably be using v4) make Firefox completely impossible for me.

The two biggest things I miss about Firefox are the address bar and being able to switch back and forth between two non-adjacent tabs with Ctrl-Tab (using Tab Mix Plus). (There are other extensions I miss: DownThemAll and AdBlockPlus spring to mind.)

Again, that's probably people typing the word "Google" in their address bar and their browser submitting it to Google as a search request since it's not a valid URL.

Again, yeah, Firefox would take users to google.com and google would probably count that as a search for "google."
posted by mrgrimm at 2:41 PM on December 2, 2010


There's a striking difference among the three, with Bing receiving by far the most searches for worthless information about people who don't make a difference to anyone who isn't selling their celebrity. Seriously, Kim Kardashian is a celebrity bimbo; just imagining Americans searching for information about her, in large numbers, is unsettling. Also, the results are telling re: the primary demographic of those who use Bing. The words "trailer trash" come to mind. That said, I'm just funnin' because I know some really cool people who live in trailers. How about "Kardashian trash" - how about spreading that coinage around?
posted by Vibrissae at 3:52 PM on December 2, 2010


And I know some really cool people who enjoy keeping up with the Kardashians. Maybe we need a new new coinage.
posted by box at 3:56 PM on December 2, 2010


"Kardashianites" has a nice Old Testament/tabletop RPG ring to it.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:16 PM on December 2, 2010


I used to maintain the software at google that generated these lists.

The top searches were generally uninteresting (since they often included things like google and yahoo, even back in 2000 before browsers had search boxes near the URL entry field.)

It's interesting to see that britney's mentioned in this thread, and with her name spelled wrong, since a list of the incorrect spellings of her name was one of the first google zeitgeist features released (I'd post a link if I wasn't on my phone as I type this).

And for whoever above assumed that the google lists would lump "x" and "x nude" together: nope. At least as of 5 years ago, the "x nude" versions of those searches never actually were popular enough to make these lists. I'm sure some of those people really wanted nude pictures, but apparently many people don't actually add "nude". Or maybe they just click further down the result sets to find them (I honestly don't remember which metric those lists are based on...)
posted by grae at 8:06 PM on December 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sometimes smart people enjoy trashy tv. It's like they don't even care what people on MetaFilter think or something. Also, all those people saying, "Who the fuck is Kim Kardashian?" probably add to her.
posted by !Jim at 11:29 PM on December 2, 2010


ranking.
posted by !Jim at 11:30 PM on December 2, 2010


Seriously, Kim Kardashian is a celebrity bimbo; just imagining Americans searching for information about her, in large numbers, is unsettling.

Pretty sure that the only "information" most of those people are looking for is the kind that a computer can translate into an image or video.
posted by straight at 11:32 AM on December 3, 2010


Google has released their list.
posted by morganannie at 2:21 PM on December 9, 2010


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