What do Japanese readers search for when they turn to Google? The search engine's operator Wednesday published its top 10 search rankings for the year and revealed that generic searches outnumbered those for specific topics in 2006.
Top of the overall ranking was "maps" but that doesn't necessarily mean good news for Google's own mapping service. A sample search reveals that rival services from Mapion, MapFan Web, Yahoo Maps and local search engine Goo all ranked above Google Maps in the search results.
"Our policy is not to promote our own services in the results," said Kaori Saito, a spokeswoman for Google in Tokyo. "We don't change the ranking, it's the natural ranking."
Second in the overall ranking was "translation" followed by "dictionary" and "video."
The first focused search term was for "Aki Hoshino," a model and TV personality well known in Japan for her busty figure. She ranked in sixth place and was joined in the top 10 by only one other person: singer "Kumi Koda," who became Japan's most popular pop artist during the year and was ranked tenth.
Between Hoshino and Koda were "weather forecast," cell-phone carrier "au," "price" for shopping comparison sites, and "post code."
In other top 10 rankings the most searched for food-related query was "McDonalds," the top beauty-related search was for cosmetics company "Shiseido" and the top financial keyword was "lottery," said Google.
Google didn't release information about the number of searches performed on each keyword. The rankings are for searches made by computer users on its main service and don't include mobile searches.