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Google Zeitgeist Illuminates Pop Culture Splendor


Google Announces Top 15 Gainers for the Week Ending January 30

As revealed by their search queries, U.S. Google users demonstrated a knack for looking back and looking forward in the same week. People searched for headlines concerning celebrities and public figures (Chris Penn, Clay Aiken, Jessica McClure, James Blunt) as well as more serious stories (Bob Woodruff, Hamas, Smoking Gun, James Frey, Oprah Winfrey). Hollywood, in the throes of its celebratory season, got its share of notice (SAG Awards, Code Black) this week, as did two figures from two sports (Michelle Kwan, Nikolai Valuev).

For breaking news and obscure information alike, people around the world search on Google. Below is a summary of the Google Zeitgeist results for the top 15 gainers on when comparing search queries that have risen by a significant percentage for the week of January 24-31.

For more information, visit the Google Zeitgeist at Gainers
1. chris penn - younger brother of actor Sean found dead on Jan. 24 at home in Los Angeles
2. chinese new year - the Year of the Dog got underway on Jan. 26 - gung hay fat choy!
3. bob woodruff - ABC newsanchor, along with cameraman Doug Vogt, were seriously wounded in Baghdad Jan. 29
4. code black - upcoming episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” is piquing curiosity before it airs after the Super Bowl on Feb. 5
5. sag awards - Screen Actors’ Guild honored its own with a Jan. 29 pre-Oscar film and TV prize-fest
6. james frey - “Million Little Pieces” author has been feeling the heat as his bestseller is scrutinized for non-memoir gloss
7. jessica mcclure - famous for being rescued as a baby from an abandoned well in Texas, the now 19-year-old got married Jan. 28
8. smoking gun - site that exposed James Frey has proved popular for other brewing stories/scandals
9. hamas - extremist Islamic party swept the Palestinian elections on Jan. 25
10. eileen ryan - actress is the mother of Chris, Sean and Michael Penn; she was called to the scene of Chris’ Jan 24 death
11. michelle kwan - veteran skater won a spot on the US (winter) Olympics team after a Jan. 28 performance
12. james blunt - UK singer had just a “Best Newcomer” award Jan. 22 when an intruder entered his hotel room; Blunt chased him off by whacking him with the heavy object
13. oprah winfrey - TV star asked author James Frey the hard questions about his book on her Jan. 26 show, admitted she’s changed her mind about defending his creative license
14. nikolai valuev - it was announced Jan. 26 that the Russian “Beast from the East” will defend his World Boxing Association title in April against American challenger Owen Beck
15. clay aiken - as first reported in a tabloid on Jan. 23, “American Idol” winner was ’outed’ as being gay by a former lover.


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