Google's inauguration searches show a changing Internet

Google's inauguration searches show a changing Internet

Most searchers seek event videos and blog posts from attendees

People weren't just sitting back and watching President Barack Obama's inauguration last week.

They were commenting on Twitter, sharing information on Facebook and turning to Google in significant numbers to find live video and audio of inauguration activities in Washington DC.

According to a blog post by Jeffrey Oldham, a software engineer at Google, and Fred Leach, the company's quantitative marketing manager, the top Google queries sought live inauguration coverage and streaming videos. The Google bloggers noted that 12 percent of inauguration-related searches came from outside the U.S.

"During the last nine years, the growth of the Internet has changed the way the world seeks information," they blogged. "From President Bush's first inaugural address in 2001 to his second in 2005, the number of inauguration-related searches increased by more than a factor of 10. From 2005 to [now], the number grew even more. Few of the 2001 queries requested 'video', and none requested 'streaming'. By 2005, a few queries such as 'inauguration audio' and 'streaming video of inauguration' appeared. Today, technology has become so prevalent that queries such as 'YouTube live inauguration', 'live blogging inauguration', 'inaugural podcast', and 'Obama inaugural speech mp3' formed one-third of all inauguration-related queries."

Oldham and Leach also noted that people were searching for information on a variety of participants in inauguration activities.

They noted that people wanted more information on key players like Rick Warren, who gave the invocation, and Aretha Franklin, who sang at the ceremony, and US Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who presided over the ceremony.

People were also interested in Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., who apparently flubbed the words when he swore in Obama, according to the Google post.

According to the search totals, a majority of people paid close attention to Obama's inauguration speech as the bloggers reported there was a dramatic drop in US-based searches at that time.

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