Every day in the world is historically significant in its own way. Every day, every hour, probably even every minute, somewhere in the world history-changing events take place. It may not be immediately obvious that a child born in rural North Korea would grow to lead the country to freedom and prosperity or that the closure of a science lab in Estonia would lead to the invention of teleportation.
Some events, however, have obvious and immediate consequences. The Tunisian revolution, the News of the World phone hacking scandal and the Tohoku earthquake in Japan, for instance, have all contributed to a domino effect that will pretty much guarantee that 2011 will be remembered and studied around the world with the same scrupulous diligence as the effects of 2001, 1989 and 1066.
The world seems to spin a little faster and get a little darker. Interlinked deeper than ever before, our countries may celebrate their victories in private but are ever more sensitive to each other’s challenges. The Fukushima disaster did not just affect the nuclear power industry but has altered the energy future of Europe. The financial woes of Southern Europe and the political aspirations of Iran are certainly expected to change the lives of billions in the near future.
Google Zeitgeist 2011 is a well laid out search report. It is very shallow and therefore easy to browse. Unfortunately, the same quality makes it utterly pointless, but let us stay positive. For obvious reasons the report does not include the latest developments – the Bolotnaya Sq protests in Russia and the CIA drone incident in Iran, the consequences of which will probably make the front pages in 2012.
Finally, as a marketer, I cannot overlook the video that promotes the whole thing. Although it is nice to see Google finally do something creative within its area of expertise, any goodwill one might have had towards what is ostensibly a public service, vanishes like caviar from the office fridge after watching the three-minute ad. Google has put together an interesting info-origami and instead of letting people quietly admire the craftsmanship, they have covered the piece of art with a huge red sticker saying “Buy Google paper, the best paper in the world!”