December 17, 2011, 8:09 AM — Google has released its Zeitgeist 2011 list, a rundown of how the world searched in the past year. This is the eleventh year that Google has performed the mammoth task of sorting billions of queries through its search engine to identify the 10 terms with the highest growth rate during the year.
Some new features have been added to this year's Zeitgeist retrospective. For instance, there's a video, backed by the song "Sooner or Later," by Mat Kearney, recapping the year's highlights.
There's also some very cool graphics that metrics fiends will find fascinating. The colorful graphs -- which combine 3D renderings with animation -- are not only appealing to the eye, but turn the dry numbers beneath the Zeitgeist analyses into a mind-engaging treat.
As in past years, pop celebrities dominated the top 10 global climbers list, with 13-year-old Rebecca Black, whose music video for her song "Friday" garnered 167 million YouTube hits, topped the list. "Jackass" star Ryan Dunn, who died in an auto accident in June, finished third and rock chanteuse Adele grabbed the seventh slot.
Three of the top 10 searches went to Apple. One was for a nonexistent product -- the iPhone 5 -- that nabbed the six spot in the standings. Apple's deceased cofounder, Steve Jobs, finished ninth in the rankings, followed by the iPad2 at 10.
Other finishers in the top 10 were Google+, ranked number two; Casey Anthony, who was acquitted of killing her 2-year-old daughter after a sensational murder trial, number four; the video game Battlefield 3, which sold five million copies in the first week of its release, number five; and the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, number eight.
In addition to the global list, you can also explore the top searches in a number of categories, as well as those in 48 countries around the world. So, for instance, you can find the fastest growing sports searches in the world or find them for Egypt.
Google has made the Zeitgeist roundup for 2011 an addictive package. It's best viewed out of the office. Otherwise, you'll find it sapping your productivity for the day.