Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) 2011 Zeitgeist of popular, fast-rising search terms ranged from the usual gamut of muckety-muck celebrities to natural disasters, such as Hurricane Irene and the earthquake that struck Japan.
The Zeitgeist, which culls data from billions of searches for the year, was also a hotbed for high-tech news. That's the focus of this report.
The Google+ social network followed one-hit Web wonder Rebecca Black, capturing the second spot on the global rising query list. Google+ launched to limited field-testing June 28 and has seen its star rise, thanks to a constant deluge of feature updates.
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) commanded three of the top 10 fastest-rising queries worldwide, led by the iPhone 5 at No. 6. As Apple fans learned Oct. 4, what was supposed to be the iPhone 5 was actually branded the iPhone 4S, a revamped iPhone 4 with a superior camera to the iPhone 4 and the Siri intelligent assistant application.
Apple founder Steve Jobs, who passed away in October, and the iPad 2, which was thinner, lighter and included a camera, rounded out the top 10 fastest-rising searches at 9 and 10, respectively.
In the U.S., the fastest-rising queries for technology were dominated by Apple products. Start with iCloud at No. 1, followed by OSX Lion, iPad 2, the iPod Touch 5g and the iPad 2 as the first, hot 5 searches. Rounding out the top 10 were MacBook Pro 2011, Adobe Reader X, Steve Jobs, TouchPad and Toshiba tablet.
Amazon's (NASDAQ:AMZN) Kindle Fire led the fastest-rising consumer electronics searches worldwide, followed by the iPhone 4S, the Sidekick 4G phone from T-Mobile and HP's TouchPad, which was heavily discounted to $99 after the company bailed on it months ago.
The SPB Shell 3d user interface application for Android phones, iPad 2, HTC's Sensation smartphone, the Samsung Nexus Prime, which turned out to be the Galaxy Nexus Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich smartphone, Sony's NGP, which materialized as the PlayStation Vita, and the as-yet-unreleased iPad 3, rounded out the top 10 hottest consumer tech queries.
For its eleventh Zeitgeist finding, Google made it easier for readers to compare search terms across categories and added new infographics, as well as a video overview of the search terms that "captivated the world this year," Google Fellow Amit Singhal said in a corporate blog post.
Check the Zeitgeist out here to see all of the top queries on Google, whose search engine is used by 65 percent of U.S. users, and more in many other countries.