On Feb. 20, the Indiana Pacers made a surprise trade of one of their more beloved players.
Immediately, the people of central Indiana took to Google.
The most popular search term in the Indianapolis area during the last week of February was “Danny Granger,” the forward who had been with the team since 2006.
Next on the list was the player Granger was traded for, Evan Turner.
From the depths of the Google search engine comes a treasure trove of information. An easily searchable database called Google Zeitgeist tracks the most popular searches and trending inquiries narrowed down to individual cities and towns.
The information is a window into what people are curious about. Last year, that included Nelson Mandela, the Harlem Shake and Paul Walker in central Indiana.
“We’ve taken a global look at what’s captured people’s attention through the lens and eyes of Google Search,” said Roya Soleimani, senior communications associate at Google and two-year veteran running Zeitgeist. “You can see people’s fascination with the news. You can see people’s curiosity.”
Google has been allowing people to sift through the Zeitgeist program for the past 13 years.
Zeitgeist is a German term meaning “spirit of the times,” and the Internet giant wanted to open a window into what your city, the U.S. and the world finds interesting, Soleimani said.
“It’s these moments captured in time that represents the collective consciousness of the Web,” she said.
Google has developed a tool that measures the searches done for a particular word or phrase and compares it to all the other searches done to put together a ranking.
Zeitgeist not only registers the most searches by volume but finds items that are trending at a certain time, Soleimani said.
The most popular searches all the time are very broad, such as YouTube, Facebook or games. But Zeitgeist gets deep into the specific topics that people are interested in, as opposed to what’s purely searched, Soleimani said.
“It’s a look into the collective consciousness of a group of people. People come to Google for a whole range of reasons, whether it’s for news or information or video. So it’s interesting to see what people are looking for at a particular time,” she said.
The Daily Journal has sifted through the information, and put together an Indiana-specific look at what’s been popular over time. Here’s a look at what you and your neighbors have been searching for.