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What's the most Googled word?

October 14 2010 by Rachel Abbott

So I'm a big fan of Oprah and I DVR every episode (season pass, obviously). Last night, I watched the "Are You Normal?" episode which aired yesterday. Throughout the show, Oprah did a series of polls with the audience about people's random habits to discern if the quirky things we do in private are "normal." Exploring tame questions like "How often do you pick your nose?" to much more personal and embarrassing subjects, it was human nature at its most candid and the results were funny to everyone.

Throughout the show Oprah dropped a teaser question: "What is the most Googled word?" Perhaps to indicate what people are most curious about. After all, the anonymity of the Web is the perfect cloak to hide those secretive sort of inquiries.

What is the most Googled word?

a. Money

b. Sex

c. Love

d. Weight

What's your guess?

The answer...

Google Trends

was love. I cross-referenced with Google Trends to investigate and found that sex is actually way higher in average worldwide traffic. As in, love comes nowhere near the search volume! Where is Oprah getting this information from? I would love to know.

Hmm, but this got my wheels turning. At SnapStream, we often compare Google Trends to TV Trends because it's cool to see how trends differ between online searches and TV news coverage.

The way I see it, it's like information economics: TV is the outgoing supply of information (one size fits all) and Google is the information you demand to know (what whets your appetite). Sometimes, they match identically. Other times, there's zero correlation.

TV Trends

So I took it to SnapStream's TV Trends for good measure. The results truly astonished me. In the course of 2009, money dominated the topic of media conversation. Okay, no surprise there, owing to the recession year, but wait, there's more.

Let the sun shine all over 2010: love and money interwine on the graph, dancing above and below each other in unpredictable steps. Who would have thought that love would spread like butter on the media's radar? Mush. Not exactly hard-breaking news.

Although... a recent (very recent) news story featuring love pops into mind. Did you watch the Chilean miners' miraculous rescue mission unfold?! All of the reporters were exclaiming how captivating the individual stories and relationships were: to see husbands and wives reuniting was like "watching a wedding," one CNN reporter said, but with deeper gravity in the circumstances. Emotions were running with adrenaline through this positive, uplifting story, proving that maybe sometimes, in our business-focused society, "love rules." That's how Oprah put it.

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