Okay, I'm sure you think I'm working for Google since I promote their stuff so much. I'm not. I just enjoy a lot of what they offer. Another cool site that you may not know about is Google's
The spirit of the time; the taste and outlook characteristic of a period or generation.
Google's Zeitgeist site shows you top search requests in various formats to allow you to see several views of what people have requested to find over the last year. They have links that break the information down by week, month, and year, as well as country, and other categories such as top male celebrities, female celebrities, or popular images.
As you might expect, the end of 2004 shows that people were trying to learn about what a tsunami was all about...trying to better understand how such a terrible disaster could hit so hard and so suddenly as we've now seen happen in southern Asia.
We can look back to this time last year to see what was on the minds of people around the world.
Google keeps several year's of data available, so you can look back to compare the past with what's in our thoughts these days, as well as what is of interest to people around the world.
I personally found it quite interesting to find some Chinese web sites that explained Thanksgiving. The page was written in Chinese, but I was able to click a link to get a translation that allowed me to get an idea of how this American holiday is understood in other parts of the world.
Have fun and see what people are thinking at various times of the year. You can find the main page at this URL: http://www.google.com/press/zeitgeist.html.