Want to know what we as a group think about, worry about, and are curious about? Ask.com gives insight by naming the top searches of the year. 2008 was a year of worries about gas prices and the economy. We sought out deals on vacations, used cars, and cheap apartments.
Ask.com, the 7th largest search engine in the US gets 70 million unique monthly searches, according to comScore Media Metrix (Oct. 2008). Last year we had different things on our minds, and the categories of queries has changed. Still, the #1 search last year for politicians during the primaries is now president elect Barack Obama.
The famous celebrity moms who captured our attention was a pregnant Angelina Jolie, Jessica Alba, a young and pregnant Jamie Lynn Spears, and a perky politician most of us hadn’t heard of until this year: Sarah Palin.
We go to search engines to learn about life. Questions we might have asked our mothers or grandparents, we now type into that search box on a web page. And search engines are how many of us make a living.
It was an election year, and there are hints of that in the top searches, but not many. This year we wanted to know these things pertaining to our private lives, our work life, and our financial life:
1. How do I get pregnant?
2. How do I lose weight?
3. How do I write a resume?
4. How much is minimum wage?
5. How much is my car worth?
6. How do I change my name?
7. What is the meaning of life?
8. How do I register to vote?
9. Why is the sky blue?
10. How do I download videos?
I guess parents have been asked why the sky is blue, and went to ask.com to ask for the answer. In case you also wonder, here is ask.com’s answer:
“The sun’s rays hit the Earth’s atmosphere, where the light is scattered by nitrogen and oxygen molecules in the air. The blue wavelength of this light is affected more than the red and green wavelengths, causing the surrounding air to appear blue. At sunset, the sun’s light passes farther through the atmosphere, deflecting and decreasing the blue in the air. Scattering by dust particles and pollution in the air causes the sunset to appear red.”
Now, what about the meaning of life? Search engines are one big Dear Abby. Surprisingly, the meaning of life is not the domain of religions, at least on search engines. There are no paid search ads from churches, but plenty of philosophies on Ask.com.
Interestingly, Google has a few more links from religious sources and some paid ads from churches. Whatever the answer, it’s an interesting question for a search engine.