Who is more popular: Britney Spears or George Bush?

Want to know who is more popular? Britney Spears or George Bush? SBY or Inul? (In Indonesia) …… Let’s find out.

No doubt, Google has become the primary search engine for most Internet users. Millions of searches are conducted through this search engine by people all around the world. What are they looking for?

Now ones can tap into Google’s database of searches to determine what’s popular, by using a new Google Trends service, via Google Labs, that was launched in May as part of Google Press Day. Google Trends does not yet offer comprehensive trends. It, however, has offered interesting trends for queries based on top cities, regions and languages.

I became interested after my good Iranian friend, Sepehr Dehpour, pointed out this trend. The trend shows that Jennifer Lopez is most popularly searched not in Bronx (NY) where she was born, nor in Puerto Rico where her ancestors were originated, but in a most unlikely place. It is in Iran, a country that is led by an anti-US President, Ahmadinejad. Tehran, the capital of Iran leads the chart for this query. Oxymoron, isn’t it?

Stimulated by this trend, I tried other celebrities’ luck. I found that J-Lo is still not as popular as Britney Spears. As this trend shows, Spears is most popular in Latin America as well as in the Philippines. A comparative trends of J-Lo vs Spears also shows that eventhough less popular than J-Lo, Spears still does well in Iran.

How about other famous celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Madonna, and Paris Hilton? Apparently Angelina Jolie cannot compete with others. Madonna is quite popular, but then mostly in Italy and other Catholic countries where the word “Madonna” perhaps is confused with La Madonna the Virgin Mary. But hey, Paris Hilton really does well. Hilton, who is most popular in Melbourne, Australia makes a real competition with Britney Spears.

Intrigued to compare more, I put Britney Spears vis-a-vis George Bush. Apparently the US Prez doesn’t do so bad. In the course of 2004 Election, Bush was actually more popular. As one can imagine, of course, it is in Houston, Texas, where he belongs, Bush is popular to the max. If we compare only the searches in the United States, Bush’s popularity almost matches Spears’ popularity.

How about in Indonesia? How does the Indonesian Prez SBY do vis-a-vis Britney Spears? Wow, SBY really is a hot guy. The chart shows while Spears maintain a steady popularity, SBY occasionally gets on rise in some spots. Just like Bush, SBY reached his popularity peak also in the course of 2004 Election.

When compared with a local celebrity, the dangdut diva Inul Daratista, who is most popular in Bandung, the Prez SBY does far better.


Playing with Google Trends is definitely enjoyable. Many results are intriguing and mind boggling, especially when you start searching with sex-related words. Want to hear more about it? I’ll get it writen down in my next Google Trends posting.


In reading these trends, should keep in mind that Google Trends is based on normalized ratio. Meaning that, as quoted from About Google Trends: “when the cities tab is selected, Google Trends first looks at a sample of all Google searches to determine from which we received the most searches for your first term. Then, for those top cities, Google Trends calculates the ratio of searches for your term coming from each city divided by total Google searches coming from the same city.” The Regions and Languages tabs work just like the Cities Tab.

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4 thoughts on “Who is more popular: Britney Spears or George Bush?”

  1. Trend setter -> popularity -> contemporary.
    Reality reframed by the media set the trend. Survivor of popularity need to ‘use’ the media (the people )
    For the long term sustainability is better than popularity.

    mer: of course you’re right. but my friend, you know me well, right? I just did this for fun. read it humorously. relax!


  2. The ‘devil’ is in the detail such as humor, relax, fun. E.g relax is a trend in Slovenia, humor is #3 trend in Jakarta. Truth on detail? Relax & genuine? Incovenient Truth of Sustainablility – Al Gore. Jusuf Kalla statement on Indonesian women & rich Midlle eastern rich men. SBY on Suharto in his aging state also — Inul gesture in Details etc…


  3. Britney Spears…. why does her records sell?
    cause i dont know of any1 who likes her… (and i bet alot of male PP user would agree with me that she only worth one
    *beep*…. thats it…. not even two) so how is she still a “star”?


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