The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

December 17, 2011

Top 10 fastest-rising Google searches in 2011


CNHI News Service

— Technology and celebrity dominated the top 10 list of fastest-growing Google searches in 2011, but it was a 13-year-old girl and her mockable music video that rocketed to the top spot for sudden Internet interest, according to Google’s Zeitgeist for 2011.

The search giant has put together an interactive website where you can see the data visualizations of some of the year's hottest searches. Check out Google's video overview of the year in searches, and see the full list of the fastest-rising search terms below.

1. Rebecca Black released her pop single "Friday" on the Internet in March of this year, and Google searches for her and the song peaked two weeks later. The auto-tuned song with cringe-worthy lyrics led to a media frenzy and dozens of parodies, but Black had the last laugh – her song was covered on an episode of "Glee," and she went on to star in Katy Perry’s music video, "Last Friday Night."

2. Google entered the social networking scene this year with the launch of Google+, a tool to connect users and allow people to share photos, updates, links and more. Searches for Google+ peaked the week of July 10, almost two weeks after it launched to select users, and then again on September 20 with the announcement of open sign-ups, according to Google.

3. A former star of the daredevil reality TV show "Jackass," Ryan Dunn died in a car crash in Pennsylvania in June. Police later said Dunn, 34, had a blood alcohol level more than twice the legal limit and was likely speeding when his Porsche crashed into a tree. During the week of his death, Google searches for the TV star spiked.

4. No other trial in 2011 captured more media attention than that of Casey Anthony, the young Florida mother accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee. Following a nearly two-month-long trial, Anthony was found not guilty in July, and Google searches of the woman's name began skyrocketing.

5. One of the most highly anticipated video game releases of 2011 was Battlefield 3, a first-person shooter from Electronic Arts. The game sold 5 million copies in its first week of release in October, and Internet searches for the game peaked at the same time, Google said.

6. So 2011 didn’t bring the release of an iPhone 5 – we got the 4S instead – but the surge in Google searches for a new Apple smartphone indicated that consumers were excited for the gadget. Interest in the iPhone 5 peaked the week of Sept. 25, a week before Apple unveiled the iPhone 4S, according to Google.

7. The music artist who dominated the charts – and our Google searches – in 2011 was Adele. The British singer released her sophomore album "21," early in 2011, and over the summer, her songs were in heavy rotation on radio stations across the United States. Google searches for Adele peaked in August, when she sang "Someone Like You" at the MTV Video Music Awards.

8. The name of the nuclear energy plant in Japan that was badly damaged during the devastating March earthquake was one of the fastest-growing Google searches this year. The actual search term was the Japanese-language version of the TEPCO Fukushima I Plant, where the reactor cooling system was disabled, leading to radiation leaks and evacuations of nearby areas. Searches for the TEPCO plant rose so quickly that they landed on Google’s top 10 list, despite the fact that Japanese-language users represent only 4.7 percent of total Internet users.

9. The death of Apple founder Steve Jobs sent the technological visionary's name to the top of Google searches in early October. Jobs died following a battle with pancreatic cancer at the age of 56, just a few weeks after stepping down as CEO of the company he created that was responsible for beloved products like the iPod, iPhone and iPad.

10. The release of the iPad 2 in March 2011 made this Apple tablet one of Google's fastest-growing searches. Searches hit their peak about two weeks before the device went on sale, and 500,000 copies of the iPad 2 were sold in its debut weekend, Google says.