Google searches for the current hot topics are always revealing. The company says trends in search terms are a good reflection of what's been on everybody's minds over the past year.
The year's fastest rising search was for the Olympics, reflecting the strong performance of New Zealand athletes in Beijing. But, showing that New Zealanders are into brain as well as brawn, the large hadron collider and 'mathletics' also made the top 20 in 2008.
In the case of head-to-head comparisons between some of the best-known New Zealanders, current 'it' girl Hayley Holt pipped the first supermodel Rachel Hunter, and John Key saw his search volumes soar upon his election as prime minister, after languishing behind Helen Clark, Barack Obama and Sarah Palin for much of the year. People rushed to Google to ask "who is Owen Glenn?" after he found himself attached to Winston Peters in a political scandal.
Top 10 searches on google.co.nz in 2008