Facebook, Bain, swine flu, Twilight and toll roads capture Kiwi imaginations as Google reveals the most searched terms of 2009

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Google has released the most searched-for terms New Zealanders typed into www.google.co.nz during 2009 – and the results give a fascinating insight into Kiwi culture.

David Bain was the most searched for New Zealander, narrowly edging out David Tua. Rugby league star Sonny Fai, tragically swept out to sea in January, was the third most searched Kiwi, with Rachel Whitwell, the Auckland teacher who posed nude for Penthouse, in fourth place.

Holiday traffic is obviously top of mind, not just at Christmas but all year round, as ‘toll road’ – presumably referring to the new SH1 toll road north of Auckland – tops the 2009 fastest rising web search list, and ‘Melbourne Cup 2009’ in second place proves Kiwis still love a flutter.

The top news search of the last 12 months – ‘swine flu’ – reflects the country’s concern over the feared epidemic, while the speedy rise to stardom of Scottish spinster Susan Boyle and the closely followed retrial of David Bain also caught the attention of the nation, in second and third place respectively.

Sci-fi sets the trend in films with Star Trek, 2012, Avatar, District 9 and the anticipated Halo movie taking up five spots in the most searched movies. But it’s the Twilight phenomenon that dominates – New Moon and Twilight are the 1st and 2nd most searched movies, and Twilight-related terms also appear in four other categories – Fastest Rising, What Is, Who Is and Popular Celebrities.

When it comes to head-to-head comparisons, Outrageous Fortune loses out to long-standing favourite Shortland Street in the battle of local TV.

Michael Laws beats Rodney Hide in the most searched controversial politician stakes, also fending off a late-season surge by Hone Harawira. And despite a significant peak in popularity following their World Cup qualifying match in November, the All Whites concede defeat to the All Blacks as we close out 2009.

Social networking site Facebook was the most searched for term overall, a new entrant into the annual Most Popular Top 10. It narrowly edges out YouTube in 2nd place (#3 in 2008), Trade Me in 3rd place (#4 in 2008) and Bebo (#2 in 2008). Last year’s most commonly searched term ‘games’ doesn’t make this year’s Top 10. or check the Google Zeitgeist

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