Google Zeitgeist

What is Google Zeitgeist?

Google Zeitgeist is a snapshot in time of what people are searching for on Google all over the world. It's an interesting way to people-watch, and since Google is the most-used search engine on the Web, it's a great way to get some behind the scenes data and statistics on what people are searching for.

How does Google Zeitgeist work?

From the official Google Zeitgeist page, we learn that the Zeitgeist is a way to look at search statistics and the data generated from millions of searches conducted on Google over a given period of time - weekly, monthly, and annually. This data is extrapolated into a user-friendly end of year report that gives us a quick look at what we've been searching for the world over the past year. This information is collated into different categories, such as most searched for sports, most searched for events, most searched for movies, etc. It's an interesting way to look back over the past year, and get a sense of what is important in different countries and continents - searches are amazingly variable the world over, reflecting that particular geographic region's culture. 

What can I find on Google Zeitgeist?

All sorts of things can be found on Google Zeitgeist. Here's a few of my favorites:

  • Google Zeitgeist This Month: Great way to see what people are searching for. One note - this seems to be usually at least a month behind in presenting data.
  • Zeitgeist by Country: View Google searches all over the world. Separated by country.
  • Google End of Year Zeitgeist: Every year, Google puts out a Zeitgeist compilation.
  • Searches by Category: You can find the top searched for items in any given category, anything from Movies to Events to Actors to News to Books. There is a vast amount of data that is represented here, so it's convenient to have this broken down into readable chunks. 

Google Zeitgeist Archives

You can view Google Zeitgeists clear back to 2001 at the Google Zeitgeist Archives. Weekly, monthly, and yearly Zeitgeists are available here. The Zeitgeist officially looks to have been shut down around 2008, but Google still puts out yearly reviews of search data for each different geographic region around the world, usually in November (as do all the other top search engines and search services).Again, this is a fascinating way to get an overview of our accumulated search data all in one place, and see what we have been looking for from country to country. In addition, while some of this data is the same from search engine to search engine, much of it is wildly different, which lends credence to the advice that in order to get the most accurate data, it's wise to use more than one search engine to get the data you might be searching for. 

Google Trends

While Google Zeitgeist no longer exists, users can still get "under the hood", so to speak, of what people are looking for in the world's most popular search engine with Google Trends. Google Trends takes popular topics - like the World Series, or elections, or movies, and gives users a moment in time insight into what is currently trending within those topic areas. 

Featured insights usually revolve around trending events, holidays, and newsworthy situations. Trending stories focus on what people are searching for, and these can be viewed in categories ranging from Business to Sports, with everything in between. People all over the world, in every geographical region, can access this information on Google Trends, getting a glimpse into what people are searching for all over the world on a wide variety of subjects.