The Google Alphabet, 2008 edition

Google has added Google Suggest to their homepage. When Google suggest first-launched Buster McLeod (AKA Erik Benson) checked the suggested term for each letter to create the Google Alphabet, 2004 edition. When Google News Suggest launched in 2006 I did the same. Now in honor of Google Suggest graduating from labs here is the annotated Google Alphabet, 2008 edition:

A = amazon

B = bebo

C = craigslist (in 2004 this was cnn)

D = dictionary

E = ebay

F = facebook (in 2004 this was firefox’s turf)

G = gmail

H = hotmail

I = ikea

J = john lewis (the first result is for John Lewis, a UK retailer that I had never heard of till now)

K = kelly blue book

L = limewire

M = myspace

N = nbc olympics

O = olympics

P = photobucket (over Paypal and beating out 2004’s Paris HIlton)

Q = quotes (the first result is for The Quotations Page; I hadn’t realized how popular quotes were)

R = runescape

S = sears (I am impressed that Sears is able to beat second-place Skype; 2004 winner Spybot is gone)

T = target

U = utube (you know your site is popular when a misspelling is a top searched term; Google’s spell corrector doesn’t even try to stop this misspelling)

V = verizon wireless

W = wikipedia (www.youtube.com was ninth on this list)

X = xbox (the only Microsoft product to make the list this year; hotmail was a part of the alphabet in 2004 and gmail was not oops, hotmail is clearly still on the list)

Y = youtube (not a surprise with all the foreshadowing, but this does mean that Yahoo! is no longer on the list)

Z = zip codes

How does Google’s algorithms choose the alphabet, err top term? According to the FAQ it’s primarily popularity. There must be some other unnamed factors because some of the Google Trends matchups don’t support that.

Here’s Yahoo! vs. YouTube. Based on the chart it’s not surprising that YouTube has come out on top.

y trends chart

Its no surprise that Spybot is gone, but I would have guessed that Skype would come out above Sears.

s trends chart

The Olympics beat out second-place Orkut right now, but I wonder how long it will retain the top spot before coming back again in 2010.

o trends chart

People are more likely to look for free stuff than the news, not surprising that Craigslist is ahead of CNN:

c trends chart

It’s been a long, close battle, but Photobucket has definitely beaten out Paypal and Paris Hilton. Paris will probably be apart of the alphabet every so often when she gets a spike in notoriety.

p trends chart

tags:
  • http://stavros.messinis.com Stavros

    I’d suggest that the John Lewis and Sears entries are flawed. I cant for a second believe that “john lewis” is more popular as a search term than “jobs” is neither can I believe that that “sears” is more popular than “skype” – Remember: google is an advertising company, search is the platform. One word comes to mind “AUCTION”

  • http://wanderingjew.co.uk Richard

    G = gmail
    H = hotmail

    X = xbox (the only Microsoft product to make the list this year; hotmail was a part of the alphabet in 2004 and gmail was not)

  • http://www.quotationspage.com/ Michael Moncur

    Yes, quotes are quite popular – at least when you compare them to other things that start with Q.

    The Quotations Page is busy enough to run on two dedicated servers and serve as an almost full-time job for my wife and I.

    (Note the correct URL for The Quotations Page in my URL)

  • http://www.seo-expert-blog.com/ yaph

    According to Google trends the phrase Google is much more popular than Gmail, which confirms your finding that popularity cannot be the only factor, though it certainly is a very important one. What about advertiser competition and adwords prices?

  • http://www.2young2die.com DC

    Worth noting that this is only the Google English Alphabet. My local google home page (google.cz) has a completely different set of results)

  • http://www.johnsjottings.com/archives/2004/12/10/google_suggests.html john

    This reminded me I went through this exercise back in 04 as well; I also included 0-9, of which only 3 (02, 411 and 50 cent) still remain.

  • http://www.profero.com Jamie

    Its interesting that Google hasn’t localised it yet across different English speaking regions. DC noted that its different in Chinese, but on Google.co.uk from the UK, we see exactly the same result as you do. Sears isn’t exactly relevant here.

  • http://www.sciencebase.com David Bradley

    It’s odd that John Lewis is in there…very odd. They’re a quality brand and claim to be never knowingly undersold, although they now exclude internet prices! (I got my new TV before they changed the rules, saved the equiv of $200 and got a five-year warranty too). But what relevance to the RoW they have I don’t know. Oh, they’re also a private company and all staff have shares.

  • brady forrest

    Oops, i totally missed hotmail in the list when i wrote that xbox comment. Thanks!I’m gonna correct it.

    @Stavros — I bet you’re right. It does S & J may have more to do with advertising revenue than query popularity.

  • http://dedalusjmmr.net/ Jorge Rosa

    Tried it on Apr 21st. Here are the differences:
    IMDB
    Next
    Orkut
    QVC
    Verizon (only)
    XBox 360

  • http://www.2young2die.com DC

    @Jamie – that’s Czech Republic, not China;)

  • http://mike.saunby.net Michael Saunby

    The John Lewis reference might be due to the phrase “John Lewis list”, a list of some dubious entitlements for MPs (members of parliament), that are apparently determined by the costs of such items in the John Lewis catalogue. e.g. they can claim £1000 for a bed! See http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7295150.stm
    This was quite a big news story in the UK earlier this year.

  • http://www.stapleton-gray.com Ross Stapleton-Gray

    I would recommend “xkcd” instead of “xbox,” but that’s just me and a million others.

  • http://communitys.info nmw

    Interesting — a clear indication of how Google-Users form a community / social network (not only the people who search, but also the people who create websites and/or “spam” websites with links ;)

    Obviously, Google-fans would be more likely to search for photobucket than say paypal — after all: photobucket is a NewsCorp property.

  • http://josephsmarr.com Joseph Smarr

    Fun post Brady, thanks. I love infoporn like this! :)

  • http://www.clement-biger.info Clément

    Interesting :).
    Also interesting is the fact that I wrote the French Google Alphabet on August 28th, without knowing about this one !
    Please feel free to come and check it out :
    http://myurl.fr/2762

  • http://asiajin.com/blog/ Akky AKIMOTO

    Interesting idea. I wrote Japanese one here.
    http://asiajin.com/blog/2008/09/01/google-alphabet-in-japanese-and-other-languages/

    Also made a list of French/Spanish/Chinese/Korean/Russian
    http://akimoto.jp/googlesuggest/

    I could see the differences between “global” brands and English-local brands there. Hope you enjoy it.

  • Yuliya

    I should say that the number of entries for bbc anc cnn is more than for bebo and craiglist as you put it. The wrds of yours R the first to appear but not the most popular

  • http://www.ariwriter.com Ari Herzog

    I just stumbled across this page via David Bradley’s utube hack, referencing the letter “U” above.

    Oddly, I never knew about this Google Alphabet before. I plugged in some letters, though, and see different results.

    For instance, “e” goes to eonline.com; “t” goes to a Google result page; and “k” goes to the Wikipedia page for the letter K.

    I didn’t check anything else. Is there a master list somewhere?

  • http://www.kpaulmedia.com kpaul

    I bet the results are different depending on your geographic location?

    K. Paul Mallasch – Publisher
    http://www.kpaulmedia.com

  • Neil

    Brady, there is another factor you are forgetting that Google uses in choosing the terms displayed.

    These links make your “P” and “S” graphs above look a little small by comparison!

    Most popular “P”:
    http://google.com/trends?q=photobucket%2C+paypal%2C+paris+hilton%2C+porn

    Most popular “S”:
    http://google.com/trends?q=sears%2C+skype%2C+spybot%2C+sex%2C

    Hope they amused you as much as me.

  • http://davidj.org David Johnson

    Brady, I have a real-time display of the google alphabet at my site under docs. I think the google alphabet is fascinating. I didn’t know who katy perry was until her name showed up there. Also, the olympic stars have shown up recently. If you have a moment please check it out under real-time google alphabet under docs at davidj.org.

  • Joe Nachon

    @Stavros — you’re wrong: actually, Google is losing money buy suggestions like “john lewis”. If in you’re in the US, “john lewis” shows zero ads (check out: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=john+lewis&btnG=Google+Search&aq=1&oq=j&gl=us — the “&gl=us” sets it to behave like you’re in the States). But for the 2nd term, “jobs”, there are tons of ads, no matter where you are; e.g., http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=jobs&btnG=Google+Search&aq=1&oq=j&gl=us

    So, there’s something else at play; not auctions. I wonder. Could be that recent spikes in popularity have more weight?

  • Joe Nachon

    @Stavros — you’re wrong: actually, Google is losing money by suggestions like “john lewis”. If in you’re in the US, “john lewis” shows zero ads (check out: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=john+lewis&btnG=Google+Search&aq=1&oq=j&gl=us — the “&gl=us” sets it to behave like you’re in the States). But for the 2nd term, “jobs”, there are tons of ads, no matter where you are; e.g., http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=jobs&btnG=Google+Search&aq=1&oq=j&gl=us

    So, there’s something else at play; not auctions. I wonder. Could be that recent spikes in popularity have more weight?

  • http://www.ticketpoint.de Flug

    Very well then. I´d also expected skype to be on first place, but ok. Who knows what happened there? I am looking forward to the next update.
    @Joe, this is what I´d also expect.

  • http://www.blackshotsmp.blogspot.com/ blackshot

    I was expecting..

    I = iphone
    P = Photoshop

  • Cody

    There’s a website out there called Search Engine Alphabet (www.searchalphabet.com) that tracks Google’s predictive word for each letter of the alphabet. Kinda cool.

  • http://www.moveisonline.pt/ Moveis

    Very good

  • http://www.it-sells.de XTC-Templates

    Its interesting that Google hasn’t localised it yet across different English speaking regions.

  • http://ekupiphi.com Stephen

    Yeah Joe Nachon , i just checked the results and i am really surprised with the results.

  • http://www.easybill.de Rechnungsprogramm

    Great list, very interesting.

  • http://www.welsangeln.de Welsangeln

    Hi Brady, great site.

  • http://www.haarpunkt.com Haarentfernung

    Great list, very interesting. Greetings from Germany