2008 Year-End Google Zeitgeist

After a whirlwind year of election news, economy woes, and the lead-up to the showstopping Summer Games in Beijing, we're looking back to see what was on the minds of Americans through it all. One thing's for sure: it was a wild ride.

"Fastest rising" means we looked at the most popular searches conducted for 11 months of 2008 (we compile this list by early December) and ranked them based on how much their frequency increased compared to 2007.

Google.com - Fastest Rising (U.S.)

  1. obama
  2. facebook
  3. att
  4. iphone
  5. youtube
  6. fox news
  7. palin
  8. beijing 2008
  9. david cook
  10. surf the channel

Google News - Fastest Rising (U.S.)

  1. sarah palin
  2. american idol
  3. mccain
  4. olympics
  5. ike (hurricane)

Google Image Search - Fastest Rising (U.S.)

  1. sarah palin
  2. obama
  3. twilight
  4. miley cyrus
  5. joker

Google Book Search - Fastest Rising (U.S.)

  1. breaking dawn
  2. twilight
  3. lora leigh
  4. vampire kisses
  5. new moon

Google Translate - Fastest Rising (U.S.)

  1. you
  2. what
  3. thank you
  4. please
  5. love


In compiling the 2008 Year-End Zeitgeist, our search team studied the aggregation of billions of search queries people typed in to the Google search box. Except where noted, all of these search terms are most popular for 2008. All of the search queries we studied are anonymous — no personal information was used.