For the eleventh year in a row, Google publishes its annual overview of the fastest-growing search terms of the past year, providing a pretty accurate overview of search trends on the Google.com search engine. Called Zeitgeist, it “sorts billions of Google searches to capture the year’s ten fastest-rising global queries and the rest of the spirit of 2011″, says the official Zeitgeist site. We find the initiative pretty interesting. Not only does it offer a valuable insight into what searches revealed about the interests of users, it also reveals the issues that have troubled the world throughout the year.

A couple interesting highlights, per Google’s blog post:

• Rebecca Black was the #1 fastest rising query globally and Google’s own Google+ social thing is ranked second
• Adele made the fastest rising lists in over 15 countries
• Apple’s late co-founder Steve Jobs made the list (mark 1:50 in the above clip), as did reality star Ryan Dunn and defendant Casey Anthony
• iPad 3 and iPhone 5 were among the often-searched terms (no surprises here)
• Devotees turned to Google following the April 4 passing of Sai Baba, an Indian guru, spiritual figure, mystic, philanthropist, and educator
• cupcakes made top food lists in over a dozen countries
• Hurricane Irene in the U.S. and earthquakes in Christchurch and Japan also topped the charts as thousands of people affected by those natural disasters turned to Google.com to seek information about their loved ones

These are just a few of the many noteworthy findings of Zeitgeist 2011. Make sure to check out the official site, they’ve really upped the ante in the visualization department. We especially like detailed infographics and the tools allowing visitors to mine whatever data interests them most, and even compare terms across categories.

Twitter and Yahoo did a similar thing so you may wanna have a look at Twitter’s Year in Review and Yahoo’s Top Searches of 2011.

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