Current Google Insights trends: Leslie Nielsen, NASA, WikiLeaks, weather

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The Independent Tech

Following the death of Leslie Nielsen, the actor was the most searched for term over the last seven days. NASA, WikiLeaks and weather forecasts from around Europe were also among this week's top Google Insights trends.


The death of Leslie Nielsen at 84 on Sunday, November 28, led to breakout* levels of searches for the actor's name. Canadian-born Leslie Nielsen was perhaps best known for his roles in cult comedies such as the Naked Gun series and Airplane, but earlier in his career he also tackled serious roles in Forbidden Planet and TV series The Swamp Fox.

The announcement by space agency NASA that it had discovered microbes beneath a Californian lake that use arsenic rather than phosphorus as the building blocks of their DNA propelled the site to second position in this week's Google Insights trends. The announcement essentially means that carbon, phosphorus and other components found in every living thing may not be the only building blocks of life and has led NASA to re-define the parameters in its search for extraterrestrial life.

The sensational leak of thousands of revealing US embassy cables last week has made the website responsible - WikiLeaks - the third most popular search term of the last seven days. The highly embarrassing and potentially damaging cables from US embassies around the world were initially revealed through newspapers The Guardian, El País, Le Monde, The New York Times and Der Spiegel.

Spanish football club Real Madrid experienced a 300 percent increase in searches over the last seven days; the internet is rife with speculation that the club is seeking players from Manchester City, Manchester United and Palermo. Real Madrid is thought to be particularly interested in Palermo player Javier Pastore, who is worth an estimated €60-70 million.

Following another week of severe snow and ice across much of Northern Europe the bottom five of this week's Google Insights search terms - "met office," "BBC weather," "meteo France," "wetter (Germany)" and "weather forecast" - are all weather-related. According to the BBC, last week's weather caused major travel disruption across France, Switzerland and the UK. Two thousand weather related driving accidents were recorded on Tuesdaythr 30th in Germany alone and temperatures plummeted to -26 Celsius in Poland. The current cold spell gripping Europe is not expected to change over the coming week.

The search terms with the most significant growth worldwide in the last seven days as measured by Google Insights, recorded on December 6 at 9:30 AM GMT, are:

1.       leslie nielsen (breakout*)
2.       nasa (+700%)
3.       wikileaks (+500%)
4.       real madrid  (+300%)
5.       cyber monday (+190%)
6.       met office (+150%)
7.       bbc weather (+140%)
8.       meteo france (+110%)
9.       wetter (+70%)
10.     weather forecast  (+60%)

*Breakout defines a search term that has experienced a change in growth greater than 5,000 percent.