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A Few More Thoughts on Zeitgeist

By - December 20, 2006


A few reporters called me about Zeitgiest (WaPo) while I was at the airport yesterday, and talking to them got me thinking about what we see there.

The top list is not very revealing, save the instance of “rebelde” – a telenovela – or Radioblog – makes me wonder what the parameters are for their filtering. Obviously they filtered out sex searches. What else? What was the methodology? Google doesn’t tell us.

Anyway, two other things struck me. One, how big the Web 2 world was. The term Web 2 made one of the lists, and wiki, blog, and podcast did too.

Second, I’m curious about all the pharma terms. Look at the “What is” list:

What is…

1. what is hezbollah

2. what is carisoprodol

3. what is acyclovir

4. what is alprazolam

5. what is tramadol

6. what is ajax

7. what is hydrocodone

8. what is vicodin

9. what is xenical

10. what is xanax

It’s clear the world is totally confused by all the pharma advertising, and it’s also clear that Google sees a big, big opportunity in providing health information. Hmmm. Let’s hope that the two don’t mix – big pharma is most likely one of Google’s largest AdWords customers, but clearly, don’t want folks finding out too much detail about the drugs they are pushing on us.

When/if Google launches Health, they will be placed in the position of choosing between the best information to customers, and the billions of dollars that pharma has to spend. Let’s hope they don’t blink.

I have a thought on what Health might look like. More on that in another post, later today.

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2 thoughts on “A Few More Thoughts on Zeitgeist

  1. Hashim says:

    Yahoo has a pretty good health site at

    Google’s health site will prob be more search focused, which is dangerous. The web is full of false health information, and scammers pushing snake oil. Hopefully people won’t make life or death decisions about their health based on a site that comes up #1 in a Google search.

  2. Isn’t it obvious – the searches are generated by all the spam for the drugs, as people wonder “What is this stuff?”