Are the smart users on Yahoo?

Google and Yahoo have both released their end of the year Zeitgeists for the most popular search terms of 2006. I find it curious the difference between the most popular news searches between them.

The most popular news searches on Google:

  1. paris hilton
  2. orlando bloom
  3. cancer
  4. podcasting
  5. hurricane katrina
  6. bankruptcy
  7. martina hingis
  8. autism
  9. 2006 nfl draft
  10. celebrity big brother 2006

And the most popular news searches on Yahoo:

  1. Steve Irwin death
  2. Anna Nicole’s son dies
  3. Iraq
  4. Israel and Lebanon
  5. U.S. elections
  6. Fidel Castro stroke
  7. North Korea nuke
  8. JonBenet confession
  9. Saddam Hussein trial
  10. Danish cartoon

In summary:

People searched on Google News for celebrities, the NFL, a TV show, Hurricane Katrina (which happened in 2005) and some generic terms I can’t quite imagine the newsworthiness of (cancer, autism, bankruptcy, and podcasting).

People searched on Yahoo News for… actual news (and at least the celebrity searches reference actual events).

So what’s that say about the difference between the two news portals, and the users thereof? Does Yahoo simply attract a smarter audience, or just smarter searches? Does Google do something to encourage junk searches that Yahoo doesn’t? Honestly I don’t have any good theories, but I’d love to hear some ideas.


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