You've got to give Yahoo credit for trying drag the collective mentality out of the celebrity gossip gutter.
Every year, the company releases a top 10 list for Web searches. Last year, Britney Spears was the No. 1 most popular search term.
But Yahoo is doing things differently this year, notably by promoting lists of top trends in search grouped in certain categories. The topics include not only top news stories (led by Saddam Hussein) and tech trends (no surprise here, YouTube), but also trends in the environment, a category devoted to pet food, recalls of toys and other goods, kids' search trends, and searches on Yahoo's Delicious bookmark sharing site.
Given that 2007 marks the 10th anniversary of the Kyoto Protocol, former vice president Al Gore triumphed at the Academy Awards with his film An Inconvenient Truth and took home a Nobel Peace Prize for his environmental work, and we saw companies left and right were going "green," the environmental category was a no-brainer.
The searches indicated a shift away from people seeking basic definitions and data about the climate crisis to seeking information as to what they could do to help make a change, said Raj Gossain, senior marketing director at Yahoo Search. Global warming-related searches also made the top 10 of kids' search trends.
In the tech category, behind YouTube, was: Wikipedia; Facebook; an Apple triple-hitter with iTunes, iPod, and iPhone; Nintendo's Wii; Microsoft's Xbox 360; Sony PlayStation 3; and Guitar Hero, the simulated rock-guitar computer game that has become a sensation.
The company did give a nod to the seemingly insatiable thirst people seem to have for stars by creating a "Celebrity Downslides" category, topped by none other than Britney Spears, who seems to be busy shuttling between shops, courthouses, and rehab these days.
While I applauded Yahoo's efforts at a deeper societal discourse, I couldn't help asking Gossain what the top search term was. After initially declining to provide it in a phone interview, I received an e-mail the following day with Yahoo's Top 10 search terms list: Britney Spears, WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment), Paris Hilton, Naruto, Beyonce, Lindsay Lohan, Rune Scape, Fantasy Football, Fergie, and Jessica Alba.
That's six female celebrities, a theatrical wrestling company, fantasy sports, a medieval-themed online game and a Japanese anime comic series that I had look up on a search engine.
The Yahoo 2007 Top Trends lists is here.
Google has released its list of the 10 fastest rising U.S. search terms for 2007. They are: iphone, webkinz, tmz, transformers, youtube, club penguin, myspace, heroes, facebook, and anna nicole smith.