Google has released the most searched terms in 2008 (up to November). It is a great way to recap the year by looking at the search trend and curiosity around the world in this year.
There must be reasons why Google is cooler than Yahoo. Unlike Yahoo's Year In Review 2008, Google brands its year end compilation as Google Zeitgeist 2008 (Zeitgeist means "the spirit of the time"). Another cool factor, we have statistics reflecting major event or emerging trend in each selected countries.
Let's start with Malaysia, followed by other Asian countries. Before that, you need to understand this: "Fastest Rising" represents zeitgeist as its search volume increased sizably in 2008 compared to 2007, while "Most Popular" shows the largest search volume for 2008.
Malaysia - Politics-focused news portal occupied no.1, 3, 5 and 9, thanks to the political tsunami in Mac 2008. On another hand, Facebook is becoming very popular, but it is still behind Friendster here.
China - China certainly grabs many global headlines this year with Olympics, Sichuan earthquake, milk scandal and Shenzhou 7. But, all these are overshadowed by Edison Chen (陈冠希) in terms of search popularity.
Hong Kong - Hongkongers tend to google people, an interesting mixture of people as well. Celebrities, inventor, artist and painter are all in the top 10 fastest rising searches.
India - Just like the Friendster scenario in Malaysia, will Facebook overtake Orkut in India? Other than that, you would realize Indians do love cricket and Bollywood actresses very much.
Korea - Google has only less than 2% of web searches in Korea, therefore I don't assume the top searches here qualify for zeitgeist.
Philippines -This Friendster-mad country is also very much into gaming nowadays, with the top 3 rising searches are all game related!
Singapore - Looks like the Edison Chen's photo scandal is gaining more interest from Singaporeans than major sporting events, be it Beijing Olympics or its inaugural F1 race.
Taiwan - The most hit search in 2008 is Ivy Li (黎礎寧), a singer graduated from the famous reality TV show (超級星光大道) who committed suicide.
Thailand - The Thais are quite "Web 2.0 oriented" despite all its political crisis. I am quite surprised to find out hi5 (social network) and imeem (music streaming) are so popular there.
United Arab Emirates -2 deceased occupied the hit list, namely brother of the President, Shaikh Nasser Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the joker, Heath Ledger.
Note: I am not sure why Japan is omitted although Google is narrowing the gap with Yahoo there.