I have often wondered if Apple’s iPhone is primarily a U.S. phenomenon or if it’s having an impact overseas, too. Earlier this morning, when Google (s GOOG) released its Zeitgest, I conducted an unscientific comparison, though it doesn’t take into account actual sales of the devices.
My logic (to me at least) was — since search is about intent to acquire information, it is a good enough (if somewhat crude) indicator of what a large mass of users are thinking. Google’s Zeitgest is calculated by taking the most popular searches conducted for 11 months of 2008 and ranking them based on how much their frequency increased compared to 2007.
- In the U.S., Apple’s iPhone (s AAPL) was at the No. 4 spot.
- In the UK, the iPhone was at the No. 3 spot.
- In Australia, the iPhone was ranked No. 1, much like the Netherlands.
- In Czech Republic, it was ranked No. 2.
- In Singapore it was No. 4.
At a global level, it didn’t crack the top 10, just like in large countries such as Brazil, India, Argentina, and substantial parts of Europe (Germany, France, Italy) and Eastern Europe. These indicators dovetail with the actual sales of the iPhone, and if recent numbers are to be believed, the majority of the sales are still in the U.S. anyway.
To be fair, the iPhone 3G has been available around the world for only a few months, so perhaps we will see a bigger impact next year.