Google released its Zeitgeist 2010 list today, highlighting the top queries in its search engine from around the world. More than the list itself, which held relatively few surprises, I was impressed by the effort that Google put into the presentation, with a video tour of the top searches (embedded below) and an interactive website showing different searches in different regions.
I was particularly amused by the video, which turned out to be a subtle commercial for a wide range of Google products. On the surface, it seems to be a fast tour of headlines, photos, and videos from the past year, accompanied by some generically uplifting pop music, but to get to those headlines, the video takes us through a crazy variety of Google services, including Google News, Google Images, Google Maps, Google Fast Flip, Google Profiles, Google Buzz, YouTube, YouTube LeanBack, and Google Instant, plus a bunch of features in Gmail, including Priority Inbox, free phone calls, and YouTube previews.
That’s not a criticism, since it would have been boring to watch one Google Web search after another. If anything, I’m kind of in awe of how many services they managed to shoehorn in there. Some of them are a stretch, though — during the tour of celebrities who died this year, we get to see (presumably fictional) user profiles of JD Salinger and Gary Coleman.
And actually, there were a few aspects of the Zeitgeist lists that surprised me. I knew Chatroulette was a hit, but I didn’t think it would take the number one spot in “the fastest rising list”. And as a tech blogger who tries to insert “iPad” into his headlines whenever possible, I’m pleased to see that I was on the right track, since iPad placed number two. Meanwhile, in San Francisco, it turns out that people really use Google as a way to look up bus times — transit-related queries made up four items in the local top 10.