Beyond Google Zeitgeist: A Lot Of Local Searching

    December 16, 2011
    Chris Crum

Google released its annual Zeitgeist this week. We covered this here, but here’s a video reminder:

Today, Google Director of Product Management Johanna Wright took to the official blog to point out how popular local searches have been. “Looking at these lists, I was surprised to see that, from city to city, almost all the terms across all the lists were related to local news, education, civic services or entertainment and activities,” she says. “I wanted to take a minute to take a deeper dive into these specific local trends that you won’t see published in Zeitgeist.”

These local trends?

“In nearly every single U.S. city we looked at, the top ten local terms showed that people were using Google to find local news stations and learn more about educational organizations,” she says. “Searches for school districts, universities and local libraries made the list in ten states, from the Hennepin County Library in Minneapolis, MN to the Chicago Public Library in Illinois.Pittsburgh, PA was the most media-hungry city in Zeitgeist this year, with all of their top 5 terms related to local news stations, while in New York City and Houston, TX, no news sources made the top ten lists.”

Another key trend was regional differences within states. 40% of terms for Orlando, FL, for example, were related to education, but in Miami, no education-related terms whatsoever made the list.

Other major trends seen in different cities included heavy searching for local civic services, local unemployment and job-related queries. Other local-related trends in heavy searching included lotteries, amusement parks, sports teams, etc.

The point Wright is trying to make, as best as I can tell, is that Google is an important tool for people looking for local information. I think that was pretty obvious already, but seeing the trends laid out does kind of emphasize this point.

Why do you think Google keeps making all of these local-related acquisitions? Recent examples would be Clever Sense and Zagat. This is another reason why a Google acquisition of Foursquare might not bee too far fetched.


Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.