The world according to Google

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Google Zeitgeist

As 2008 rapidly draws to a close, Google has released its 2008 Zeitgeist list – a compilation of some of the most popular Google searches of the year.

The global rankings of the fastest rising search features two names from the US elections – but not necessarily the ones you’d expect. Obama is the obvious choice, coming in at number six. But it’s Sarah Palin who tops the list as the fastest rising global search term. Poor John McCain didn’t even make the top 10. Given that he doesn’t seem to have registered with the global audience, it’s not entirely surprising that the American population failed to engage with him either!

Looking closer to home, and the UK’s listings make interesting reading. The most popular search list is dominated by the likes of facebook, youtube and ebay. But the list that really caught my eye related to finance terms. Mixed in with the banks, such as HBOS and Icesave, that have been embroiled in some of this year’s most memorable financial stories was ‘money saving expert’.

It would appear that for Martin Lewis, the UK’s favourite money saving guru, the credit crunch is paying dividends. He’s spent several years steadily raising his media profile and now that everyone’s starting to feel the pinch, they’re turning to GMTV’s astute and friendly personal finance expert.

One final search term that surprised me was HMRC at number four. It would appear that Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling’s botched attempts to remove the 10p tax rate and make amends for the rather sizeable mess that this caused have sent people flocking to the tax man for advice. I know that I certainly spent quite some time trying to work out not only what I’d lost but also what, if anything, I’d get back – eventually.