Top Searches Will Be Influenced By Changes in Search Habits, APIs

Chris CrumSearchNews

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Tired of top ten of 2010 lists yet? Me too. We're 4 days into 2011 now. Enough is enough. Yahoo got the memo, as now it is looking back on the past decade in search beginning with 2001, and looking at how much has changed (and how much hasn't). 

What is the biggest difference you see in search activity from 2001 to 2011? Comment here.

"Some trends have continued over the years, for example pop-princess Britney Spears made the list every year, while some trends changed drastically, largely thanks to new technology like mobile devices," a spokesperson for Yahoo tells WebProNews. 

Back in 2001, the top ten list featured things like Napster, NASCAR, the IRS, and of course the World Trade Center. In fact, there had not been another news event to reach a year's top ten list of Yahoo searches until the infamous BP oil spill of this past year. 

The decade in search was largely dominated by entertainment and celebrity queries like Spears, Kim Kardashian, Megan Fox, Miley Cyrus, Jessica Simpson, Paris Hilton, Lady Gaga, Eminem, Justin Bieber, 50 Cent, etc. 

Harry Potter came in on the top 10 three different years. It's actually surprising that it it didn't come in more. 

Yahoo Sketch a Search - example of different way to searchHow people search should play a big role in dictating the top searches going forward. "While some our most popular questions have stayed the same over the years, the answers – and how we get them – have seen some big changes since 2001," says Yahoo. "Innovative features and Quick Apps now bring the information you’re seeking within the search page, rather than just giving you a list of links." 

"You can even Sketch-a-Search!" the company says referring to its own mobile app, in which you can use your finger to draw a circle around an area on a map and bring up search results. "Today's Yahoo! searchers don't have to rely on PCs; mobile devices now let you search on the go, delivering snack-sized bites of information – like scores, stats, and song lyrics – perfect for the top 3 2010 searches on mobile: NFL, Lady Gaga, and Rihanna."

Of course, apps are obviously influencing search well beyond those using Yahoo. APIs will continue to be a huge factor in the way people do their searches. According to Programmable Web, which runs an API Directory and a MashUp directory, API growth doubled in 2010 with social and mobile trending upwards. Search was number 4 in the top 5 API types of the year, just ahead of mobile. 

Local, social, and realtime are bound to be three of the largest factors in search in general moving forward. Of nearly a thousand apps added to Programmable Web's MashUp directory, 270 of them tapped into the Google Maps API, nearly 200 tapped into Twitter's, and nearly 100 tapped into Facebook's and YouTube's each. Each of these is extremely valuable to search. 

What do you think will be the most significant factor in search activity in 2011? Share your thoughts.

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.