What the Bay Area Is Googling Now

When it comes to Google searches in the San Francisco Bay Area, this year's king is the Fox Theater in Oakland.

According to Google's annual year-end list, the theater was the No. 1 local search term. That comes as a bit of a surprise when you learn that the No. 2 search was the Bay Bridge closure.  How could more people search for a tiny theater over a road closure that affected tens of thousands?  But the search engine doesn't lie.  It happened.

Education in general also scored several times in the Top 10 with ilearn, SFUSD and CCSF.

The list is part of the "2009 Year-End Google Zeitgeist," which among other sorting, featured city-by-city analysis.

For its local lists, Google didn't just rank the terms by volume. First, it complied the most popular searches for Los Angeles -- yes, volume -- but then it ranked them based "on how unique they were to that city."

"A query is 'unique' if it is disproportionately popular in a particular city compared to the rest of the country. This method explains why popular local searches (for example, for a specific movie theatre) may appear higher than a term for which people across the country are searching (for example, for a regional sports team)," according to Google.

"They say all politics is local. Search can be local, too: An Angeleno is less likely to search for information about the T than a Bostonian. For some local flavor, we found these popular searches unique to specific U.S. cities," according to Google.

But it's not just about local data. For true info-addicts, Google slices, dices and graphs billions of search queries. Want to see the most searched sports stadiums? They got that. Want to see the fastest falling searches? They got that too (Sorry, John McCain).

Basically, if it can be graphed and happened in 2009, Google is on it.

The Complete Bay Area Top 10

   1. fox theater oakland
   2. bay bridge closure
   3. wicked san francisco
   4. ilearn
   5. sf giants schedule
   6. sfusd
   7. 511.org
   8. outside lands
   9. bart schedule
  10. ccsf

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