This is the time of the year when search engines release their yearly round-ups, and today, both Google and Lycos released their respective lists of most popular search terms of the year. Former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin tops the list of fastest rising search terms in Google's year-end Zeitgeist, while 'poker' and 'Paris Hilton' were the top search terms on Lycos. This year's edition of Google's Zeigeist also breaks out individual results for over 30 countries.

As we pointed out earlier this month, Yahoo's top searches were mostly comprised of female celebrities.

Social Networks Dominate

Interestingly, while Google's global list of rising searches is dominated by relatively time sensitive searches like 'Sarah Palin,' 'Jonas Brothers,' or 'Heath Ledger,' social networks like Facebook, Wer-Kennt-Wen, and tuenti gained enough worldwide popularity to break into this list.

Looking at the results by country, this trend only becomes stronger, with Facebook appearing on almost every country's list of fastest rising search terms, though it hardly ever appears on the list of actual top search terms for these countries. Otherwise, these country specific lists tend to be comprised of searches for local services and events, though YouTube, Yahoo, eBay, and the Wikipedia make regular appearances as well.

Also, the trend of using search instead of bookmarks clearly continues, as quite a few lists of top search terms actually feature 'google,' 'yahoo mail,' 'hotmail,' myspace,' and 'facebook.'

The Lists

Here is Google's top 10 list of fastest rising search terms:

1. sarah palin 6. obama
2. beijing 2008 7. nasza klasa
3. facebook login 8. wer kennt wen
4. tuenti 9. euro 2008
5. heath ledger 10. jonas brothers


For Lycos, the results were slightly less interesting, though Facebook makes an appearance on this list as well, together with 'poker,' 'golf,' and Clay Aiken. Given Lycos' minuscule market share in the U.S. search market makes this list slightly less representative of the overall U.S. market, however.

1. Poker 6. Britney Spears
2. Paris Hilton 7. Clay Aiken
3. YouTube 8. Pamela Anderson
4. Golf 9. Facebook
5. Sarah Palin 10. Holly Madison