How search has changed over the last decade.


Come the end of each year, those working within the web environment are inundated with ‘top ten…’ lists. These lists often focus on the most searched for phrases of the year, or might simply detail the most popular websites of the last 12 months.

Whilst this data is interesting and tends to sum up the previous months nicely, there are so many lists these days that they do risk becoming a little repetitive. So this year, Yahoo has reflected upon the past decade of search, starting with 2001, to illustrate exactly what has changed and what hasn’t.

Has the search world really changed that much in 10 years?

Of course, the last 10 years have been particularly important in terms of the Internet and technology. We’ve seen substantial improvement in search technology (superior algorithms, creating more accurate search results), as well as real-time and local search. On top of that, we’ve also seen the emergence of mobile device, which have the ability to access and browse the Internet, and at greater speeds. These developing communications have made the world a much smaller place.

It’s not particularly surprising that the likes of the Apple iPhone and iPad were popular terms within the last year or so. They were groundbreaking products at the time of their release, and have served as a great inspiration to many other companies looking to find a foothold in the marketplace. The same can be said of Napster (in 2001). But what terms have been consistently popular over the last decade?

Who is the most popular person of the last 10 years?

Well, there is one name, which has featured in the top 10 list of people every year since 2001. Britney Spears may have had a quiet 2010 slipping to the bottom of the list (number 10), but as 2011 will signal the release of her new album, we’re almost sure she’ll be ranked higher this time next year.

It’s interesting to see that even Eminem couldn’t replicate Britney Spears’ performance, and could only rank within the list 3 times – in 2002, 2003 and 2005. We shall see whether the craze around Justin Bieber will result in him mounting a challenge in the coming 10 years.

What can we expect of the next decade within search?

So, aside from more Britney Spears related searches, what else will 2011 bring to search? Well, many experts are predicting improvements within the social, local and realtime sections of the search environment, so it’s pretty safe to say there will be emphasis on the likes of Twitter, Facebook and services such as Foursquare this year.

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