Google Explains Wack Zeitgest Criteria

Google posted to its official blog to better explain its year-end Zeitgest search list. The description originally given when the list was released last week was irresponsibly sloppy, leading many to label it as the search engine’s most popular searches of the year.

The ranking was actually compiled using a combination of growth and traffic, and edited to remove common and offensive search terms. So basically, it meant next to nothing, especially while it was lacking an explanation of the methodology.

[W]e do not simply retrieve the most frequently-searched terms for the period — the truth is, they don’t change that much from year to year. This list would be predominated by very generic searches, such as “ebay”, “dictionary”, “yellow pages,” “games,” “maps” — and of course, a number of X-rated keywords. These are constants, and although unquestionably popular, we don’t think they actually define the Zeitgeist.

That lead to the list being topped by Bebo, a rising social networking star that — despite its popularity — many people don’t seem to know how to spell. Sure, it’s mighty popular, but it “leading all search terms” is somewhat fishy. C’mon, Google, people would be better served by accuracy and transparency.

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