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In the news - top Google searches 2011

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Hajar Javaheri Hajar Javaheri | 15:13 UK time, Tuesday, 20 December 2011

As Google accounts for the vast majority of all online searches, can its annual report be seen as a window into the modern human mind. So, what are we thinking? Surely when we’re not searching for spellings we’re trying to get to grips with quantum physics or 18th century philosophers, or… we’re simply wondering what on earth scampi is.

Yes, scampi was the second most searched article in the ‘What is’ category of the Google Zeitgeist report for the UK, pipped to the top spot by ‘What is AV?’

Perhaps in the case of AV (Alternative Vote), our news channels and papers are becoming less likely to explain things, or maybe we’re just paying less attention, safe in the knowledge that we can look up anything we don’t understand online.

In the ‘How to’ bracket, it seems students might be making most of the queries, with the top three spots dedicated, respectively, to revising, referencing and snogging. Although the precise demographics aren’t given I think we can take some solace as a nation that at least the priorities of our students are in a sensible order.

Along with the movers and shakers in the celebrity world, the report shows the most-searched travel destinations, sports terms and events, and is also a great way to see how we compare with other countries. South Africans, for example, seemed to want answers to bigger question including ‘What is love?’ and ‘What is life?’.

A slight cause for concern, however, was that we Brits are still googling the word Google. In fact, Google was the fifth most searched site!  On the upside UK's most searched for in the News category (on news.google.co.uk) was... BBC News, which topped a list brimming with popstars and football teams.

For all you need to get started with search engines, go to the WebWise guide.

For a brief history of how search engines came out, take a look at my previous news piece, We love search engines.

Hajar is a regular contributor to the WebWise blog and has also made award-winning programmes for BBC Radio. In her spare time she loves reading, writing and singing.



  • Comment number 1.

    I use Google to search for Google; I wonder if it came top because other people are doing it for the same reason. It happens like this: whenever I find a computer whose opening page is google.com, I start by searching for google uk !!

    Perhaps we all* need help on setting up our start page to be the UK version of google ...?

    *Public libraries especially.

  • Comment number 2.

    Elizabeth - set your browser home page to be google.co.uk

  • Comment number 3.

    Googling the word google - classic.

    My goodness things hardly change - searching for celebrities - latest news - shopping and travel. I believe that there is a greater tendancy towards searching more precisely with question like 'how do I clean behing a wall mounted radiator'

    Best wishes for the new year - I hope everyone finds what they are looking for!

    Anil travelling in Europe & Beyond


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