Google Zeitgeist measures exactly what you think it would—the virality of certain subjects based on the search engine’s billions of searches.
For 2011, Americans should probably be a little ashamed of themselves.
Rebecca Black, whose excruciatingly pervasive “Friday” became a viral sensation for its inanity, “mattered most” in 2011, according to Zeitgeist.
The rest of the list makes slightly more sense. Here it is, Google Zeitgiest 2011
1. Rebecca Black
3. Ryan Dunn
4. Casey Anthony
5. Battlefield 3
6. iPhone 5 (which, interestingly, doesn’t exist yet)
8. Japan Earthquake
9. Steve Jobs