Ah, December! It’s a time for looking back on the year that was. At this time of year, there’s always a ‘best of’ list (and a ‘worst of’ list) for everything imaginable and year-end montages aplenty. Like we all do, Google considers this a time to reminisce, a time to give credit where credit’s due, and a time to razz utter failures.

An interesting perspective on 2008 is provided by Google’s 2008 Year-End Zeitgeist Around the World. Here you can find the Top 10 Fastest Rising Google Searches, Top 10 Most Popular Google Searches, as well as the Top 10 Poltical Parties, Celebrities, News Sources, and Personal Electronics Searched via Google.

These lists are available for 34 countries from around the world, including Canada. Our fastest rising Google search of 2008? That would be “Obama”, which reflects our nation’s fascination with the President-Elect (personally, I’m guilty as charged… You’ll see that I’ve already blogged about Obama below).

You will see that the two most popular Google searches in Canada this past year were for Facebook and Youtube. Matt Hartley of the Globe & Mail raises the question “Why are Canadians using the search engine to locate sites with seemingly simple addresses, such as facebook.com, youtube.ca and google.ca?”

Google Canada spokesman Andrew Swartz provided this answer: “Apparently it’s because Canadians see Google not just as a means of finding information on the Web, but also as a navigational tool that provides them with quick access to sites they frequent, similar to Internet browser bookmarks”.

All the more reason to search engine optimize your website so that you don’t fall off the Google map!