Once a year, Google publishes a list of the year's most popular search terms — the items that have captured the public zeitgeist.
Michael Jackson's shocking death was second on the list of Google's most popular searches this year worldwide, but Googlers in 2009 were more interested in social networking than anything else. Microblogging site Twitter was the fastest riser of the year according to Google Zeitgeist 2009, and Facebook was third on the list, rankings that reflect the burgeoning growth of the two Websites.
Other items making Google's list include Glee, reflecting interest in the new Fox television show, and Hulu, the new online video website.
Among Google News items, swine flu and Susan Boyle were the most common terms, while Lady Gaga and New Moon topped user's image searches. On the flip side, the search giant noted that John McCain — the search term, not the person — topped the fastest falling items list, followed by Olympics and Heath Ledger.
Google Zeitgeist includes many different charts, including popular search terms in categories such as sports, home, entertainment, and even state by state listings.
To find the fastest rising query for each quarter, Google looked at the most popular searches conducted every three months and ranked them based on how much their popularity increased compared to the previous quarter.
Google's list of the 10 fastest rising terms of 2009:
2. michael jackson
7. paranormal activity
8. natasha richardson
9. farrah fawcett
10. lady gaga
Google's list of the 10 fastest falling terms of 2009
Google posted the full list of terms on its Website Tuesday morning.
Jeremy A. Kaplan is Science and Technology editor at FoxNews.com, where he heads up coverage of gadgets, the online world, space travel, nature, the environment, and more. Prior to joining Fox, he was executive editor of PC Magazine, co-host of the Fastest Geek competition, and a founding editor of GoodCleanTech.