Major sporting events like the football World Cup were among the top searches on the internet this year, Google says.
The findings were released in Zeitgeist 2010: How the world searched as a year-end aggregation of billions of search queries, which the company says “captures the spirit of 2010”.
2010 has been a year of global struggles ranging from the debt crisis and soaring unemployment to catastrophic tragedies caused by both man and nature.
Besides world sporting events, people commonly searched for disaster stories, such as the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, as well as the BP oil spill off the US coast in the Gulf of Mexico.
But beyond all else, the results showed people’s preoccupation with celebrity, as shown by queries on Canadian teen sensation Justin Bieber and singer Lady Gaga.
Chatroulette, a controversial website that offers random video chat with stranger and iPad topped the list for the fastest-rising queries.
Searching for ‘love’
The most popular searches in the United Arab Emirates were for social networking sites YouTube, Facebook, the various email and short messaging services, as well as online job placement, news and entertainment portals.
“Love” was the ninth most popular word searched in Kenya, along with popular social networking sites.
In India, the railway ticketing site IRCTC topped the charts of the year-on-year fastest-rising bracket, followed by queries on smartphones, songs, YouTube, movies and Bollywood stars.
In the UK, terms on the national elections such as “register to vote”, “Cameron” and “Labour Party” were among the top 10 on the list of fastest-rising searches for news and current events.
Kevin Anderson, a freelance journalist specialising in digital strategy, told Al Jazeera that overall the searches were dominated by queries on gadgets and celebrities.
“Instead of bookmarks, most people were also using Google as an online address book to search for their most frequently visited sites like Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, Facebook and Twitter, as well as favourite topics on news, food, sports, health and entertainment,” he said.
“There were searches on not only natural disasters like the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, but also charities which people can contribute to.”
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