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I'm Bored With Zeitgeist

By - November 02, 2005

Those of you who’ve read my book will recall that the whole story started when someone sent me a link to Google’s original Zeitgeist – the top gaining and declining queries for the year 2001. Since then, ol’ ZG has been hitting the lists every week, and I check it regularly. And I have to say, it’s beyond predictable – now it’s simply deadly dull. Here’s this week’s top five gainers:

1. rosa parks

2. halloween

3. daylight savings

4. jack-o-lantern

5. costume ideas

Come on Google, you know so much more in your own version of the Database of Intentions than you are letting on. Think what you might be able to surface with a bit of imagination? How about some of you Googlers start futzing around in that fabled 20% time, and come up with something interesting again?

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  • Ahsan

    I think the fact that Paris Hilton and Britney Spears are ahead of Jessica Alba on the popular women list, makes me think that the Zeitgeist is on a 2 year delay.

  • http://www.blackrimglasses.com Ethan

    You raise an interesting point: there are many, many algorithms that would generate more interesting views of the search-scape. Google should hire a data-viz artist (like George Legrady) and let them loose on the dataset.

  • http://www.andilinks.com/ Andi
  • http://blogfresh.blogspot.com/2005/11/google-zeitgeist.html John

    Don’t we really need a “Roll your own Zeitgeist” sort of a thing? Not necessarily what the folks in your sub list have been searching for, but an aggregation of what their interests have been (expressed by what they’ve searched / accessed / blogged / tagged / bookmarked?) When is the Zeitgeist an invasion of privacy?

  • http://www.andilinks.com/ Andi

    I’ve always felt that Zeitgeist was much too stingy with its data. The Snap page linked above used to be the best, but now I’ve noticed that they too have cut back on keywords. The problem with these is that they are too easily abused and used to create “made for AdSense” pages and other forms of spam.

    >>Don’t we really need a “Roll your own Zeitgeist” sort of a thing?

    I think this is evolving form services like del.icio.us, technorati, TagCloud, Bloglines, Daypop, etc. etc.

    But they are much too slow. These require more time to build than a search index since they are “bottom-up” aggregations and are still shaking out in an evolutionary way. But I think we will see more order arising out of the W2.0/ajax tagging trend. Indeed if the result pages of these taggregations sometimes show up in search results there will be a feedback loop.

    Your book arrived yesterday John and I’ve read to page 45 or so and I can see already that the book is going to be much too short. There is a lot there even for (or maybe especially for) someone who has been interacting with SE’s for years as both searcher and directory builder/webmaster…

  • Mike

    Check out AOL’s Hot Searches:

    http://hot.aol.com/hot/hot

    From their help page: Hot Searches lets you find the search topics gaining popularity on AOL in real time. You can browse a range of topics or you can select topics from a single channel, such as Music.

    Search topics from AOL Search are collected anonymously in real-time and processed to determine the topics with the greatest percentage increase in popularity.

    The searches are updated every 12 seconds. If this is too fast, you can pause the Hot Searches using the pause and play buttons in the lower right corner of the list.

    Thanks,

    m