Google search helps provide inauguration subtext

For footnotes to President Barack Obama's inauguration, people turned to Google. All 100 hot new searches are related to the event, from "Isabel Toledo" to "Dick Cheney wheelchair."

Itzhak Perlman? Isabel Toledo? Simple Gifts? Huh?

During Tuesday's inauguration of President Barack Obama, people curious about unfamiliar references used Google to supply the footnotes for the ceremony. The phenomenon was visible on Google Trends, a service that shows which search terms are rapidly rising in use.

Inauguration-related searches were hot on Tuesday, according to Google Trends.
Inauguration-related searches were hot on Tuesday, according to Google Trends. Google

According to the U.S. results, Toledo, who designed First Lady Michelle Obama's dress, bubbled up to fifth place on the list earlier in the day. Once the ceremony began, up came violinist Perlman (ninth place), cellist Yo-Yo Ma (12th place), composer John Williams (26th place), and the variation on the Simple Gifts melody (14th place) that he wrote and the musicians played. Aretha Franklin rose up to third place for a time, too, and even "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" ranked 21st at one point.

People were curious about politicians, too--Sen. Dianne Feinstein made it as high as eighth place, and "Dick Cheney wheelchair" was 91st place.

More interesting, perhaps, is that in aggregate, every single one of the top 100 Google Trends searches were related to the inauguration on Tuesday. Many had to do with people's evident desire to find news about it or a place to watch a streaming video.

Update 7:39 a.m. PST January 21: See this Google blog post for some more details about the phenomenon. For instance, there was a lull in regular search in the United States while people watched the inauguration, and 12 percent of inauguration-related search queries came from outside the country.

All of the top 100 searches on Google Trends were related to the inauguration.
All of the top 100 searches on Google Trends were related to the inauguration. (Click to enlarge.) Google
About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Don't Miss
Hot Products
Trending on CNET

HOT ON CNET

iPhone running slow?

Here are some quick fixes for some of the most common problem in iOS 7.