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2006′s Most Questionable Search Queries

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Lists of popular search terms are so interesting because they provide a window into what’s on the collective minds of the collective culture. The most insightful looks into that collective, I think, are the questions the society asks. Our society wants to know about sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

Google’s year-end Zeitgeist not only listed the most popular search terms, possibly cleaned up a little, but Google also broke down queries grammatically phrased as questions: queries that begin with “who is,” “what is,” “how to,” and “define.”

Some questions seem obvious, but only if you’ve been around awhile. Kids are more likely to phrase search queries this way, and more likely to ask questions like “who is eu” or “who is capote.” But the objects of many question queries are quite adult in nature.

Those asking who ask more naive or youthful questions (who is borat, who is hot, who is v, who is buckethead). But the what questions are far more revealing, and representative of an adult, pharmaceutically dependent culture. Eight out of the top ten “what is” questions were searches for information on drugs:

What is…

1. what is hezbollah
2. what is carisoprodol
3. what is acyclovir
4. what is alprazolam
5. what is tramadol
6. what is ajax
7. what is hydrocodone
8. what is vicodin
9. what is xenical
10. what is xanax


Searchers looking for how to do something, if we’re presumptive (and we are) is definitely a younger group, most likely adolescents…well, except for the top query, “how to refinance.” These searchers (seekers) saw The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, and now want to know how to drift. They want to know how to podcast, how to scream, how to levitate, how to kickflip on a skateboard.

But those using Google’s “define” function (in search bar enter define: and then term you want defined) seem to be grownups learning to cope in an entirely different world.

For instance, when Dad hears the hot new Nelly Furtado song “Promiscuous Girl” blasting out from his daughter’s bedroom, he may ask himself, “doesn’t ‘promiscuous’ mean the same thing it always did?” And so, the most sought after definition is for the word ‘promiscuous.’ And yes, Dad, it still means ‘slut.’

Define…

1. define promiscuous
2. define web 2.0
3. define ftw
4. define calidad
5. define ajax
6. define ensayo
7. define ciencia
8. define administracion
9. define harlequin
10. define filosofia


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2006′s Most Questionable Search Queries
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