What do YouTube, Wikipedia, Facebook and iTunes all have in common?
You might be surprised to know that the four popular Web sites are the top four tech-related search terms on Yahoo. The Sunnyvale, CA-based Internet portal just completed an analysis of top trends for 2007 based on billions of searches at its site this past year (through just after Thanksgiving).
At first glance, the rankings may seem odd. After all, why not just type www.wikipedia.org in the browser's address bar rather than search for it from Yahoo? But Raj Gossain, Yahoo's senior director or marketing search, said a lot of Yahoo users use the search box for navigation and prefer to use it as a launch pad to visit other sites.
He admits these kinds of results, which shoot Yahoo users off to competitors or at least away from Yahoo, aren't that interesting but they do reflect broad consumer trends. "It's clear there's continued reliance and popularity in social media with YouTube and Facebook, and people use sites like Wikipedia as a starting point for research into things like the presidential campaign," Gossain told InternetNews.com.
"Facebook is the social network du jour, especially with Microsoft's investment. Two years ago it would have been MySpace," he added. MySpace was not one of the top ten popular tech searches.
Apple's iTunes, iPod and iPhone are ranked 4,5 & 6 in popularity, but it's not all about people wanting to visit the Apple-related sites. In the case of iPhone, there was a lot of publicity and controversy about Apple's rebate announcement that may have sparked a lot of interest in that type of information from other sites.
Rounding out the top ten was the Nintendo's Wii, Microsoft's Xbox 360, Sony's Playstation 3 and the "Guitar Hero" game. The shortage of Wii's may have generated a lot of searches related to where it could be purchased, noted Gossain, while Guitar Hero has a huge after market of add-on products.
What's most del.icio.us?
For the first time, Yahoo released the top results for its del.icio.us social bookmarking site. Gossain said del.icio.us users tend to be more involved on the Web from a technology point of view. The top category was the very generic term "Design," which Gossain said reflects del.icio.us users interest in Web design and visual and industrial issues and products related to design.