Before 2009 came to a close, Google provided a look (as always) at the most searched for terms of the year. It showed the top ten fastest rising and fastest falling terms on both a global scale, and in the U.S. Globally, "Michael Jackson" was the fastest rising, while "Beijing 2008" was the fastest falling. In the U.S., "Twitter" was the fastest rising (just above "Michael Jackson", and "John McCain" was the fastest falling (just over the Olympics).
Google has now shared some other interesting facts related to search behavior over the course of 2009. These are:
- Proportion of Google users in the U.S. making over one query per day: 7 out of 10
- Proportion of Google users in the U.S. making over 10 queries per day: 1 out of 7
- Fraction of Google queries, duplicates excluded, never seen before: More than 1/3
- Fraction of Google queries, duplicates included, never seen before: More than 1/5
- Country with the greatest increase in Google web search traffic in 2009 vs. 2008: Indonesia
- Approximate percentage of Internet users in Indonesia: 11.1%
- Average amount of time it takes a user to finish entering a query: 9 seconds
- Average amount of time it takes Google to answer a query: Less than 1/4 second
- Number of search quality improvements made by Google in 2009: 540, ~1.5 each day
Proportion of Google result pages that show a map in search results: 1 in - 13
- Average increase in driving distance on weekends vs. weekdays on Google Maps: 11km
- Median distance from a user's location to ice skating rinks found on Google Maps: 30km
- Median distance from a user's location to ski resorts found on Google Maps: 300km
Google notes that most of the stats are based on U.S. traffic during weekdays. World Bank, World Development Indicators are cited for the Indonesia stats.
Statistics like these provide for an interesting reflection of search on a broad scale. Those directly connected to the search and marketing industries may sometimes have a hard time stepping out of the box and looking at things from the average person's perspective. Information like this kind of puts thing into that perspective.
For example, it's hard for me to imagine a weekday where I would make less than 10 queries in a day, but according to Google, only one out of seven make over 10 per day. Does that make search any less of a factor? No. It doesn't have any effect on the importance of being there when consumers do search.