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Current trends for Web terminology and buzzwords

The Web has created its own set of words, but their popularity change over time. We have checked the trends for 45 different Web-related terms such as “social media”, “blogging”, “RSS”, “Web 2.0″ and their like. For your convenience, we have collected the results in a handy, alphabetically sorted table that you can see below.

We have focused on the popularity of general terminology, not products. For example, we included the term “microblogging”, but not “Twitter”.

We used world-wide Google search data as a basis for judging the trends.

A few interesting observations regarding some of the terminology:

  • Web 2.0” peaked in 2007 and has been decreasing in 2008.
  • The ever-popular “cloud computing” actually dropped sharply late in 2008 after having been increasing rapidly since late 2007.
  • While the interest for “blogging” hasn’t changed much over the last couple of years, “microblogging” has seen a rapid rise since early 2007 (presumably due to Twitter).
  • Blogger” has been increasing four years straight.
  • Ecommerce” is decreasing.
  • RSS” is decreasing.
  • Affiliate program” saw a sharp increase during the second half of 2008.

Now on to the full list of terms!

Each term in the table below is linked to its page on Google Insights for Search in case you want to take a closer look at its trend curve.

Current trends for Web terminology
Term Current trend Comment
Affiliate program Up Sharp increase second half of 2008, though the trend seems to have turned down at the end of the year.
API Down Slight downward trend 2004-2008.
Blog Unchanged More or less unchanged in 2008. Rising trend 2004-2007.
Blogger Up Steady increase 2004-2008.
Blogging Unchanged More or less unchanged in 2008. Largest peak in 2005.
Cloud computing Down Strong increase in 2008 overall, but the end of the year trend saw a sharp decline, so we counted this one as downward.
Crowdsourcing Up Sharp rise in Q2 2006. Slight increase in 2008.
DDoS Up Slight increase in 2008.
Ecommerce Down Slow decline 2004-2008.
File sharing Down Downward trend 2004-2008.
Folksonomy Down Sharp rise at end of 2004. Largest peak in mid-2007 and slight downward trend since then.
Instant messaging Down Steady downward trend 2004-2008.
Intranet Unchanged More or less unchanged since 2006.
Long tail Down Peaked mid-2006. Downward trend since then.
Mashup Unchanged Increased 2004-2007. More or less unchanged in 2008.
Microblogging Up Rising rapidly since beginning of 2007.
Microformat Down Peaked first half of 2007. Downward trend since then.
Micropayment Unchanged More or less unchanged since 2007.
Mobile web Down More or less unchanged in 2008, but curve is downward second half of the year.
P2P Down Peaked in 2005.
Pagerank Down Slight downward trend since 2007. Small increase in late 2008 though.
Phishing Down Slight downward trend since 2007.
Podcast Down Sharp increase in 2005. Slight decrease in 2008.
RSS Down Peaked in 2005. Slight downward trend since then.
RSS feed Down Peaked in 2005. Slight downward trend since then.
SaaS Up Slight upward trend.
Semantic web Down Slight downward trend 2004-2008.
SEO Unchanged More or less unchanged in 2008.
SOA Down Downward trend in 2008. Was increasing 2004-2006.
Social media Up Have been rising since 2006. Flat before then.
Social network Up Have been rising since 2006. Flat before then.
Social networking Up Only a slight increase in 2008. Sharp increase in 2006 and 2007.
Social search Down Sharp decline at the end of 2008.
Spam Down Slight downward trend 2004-2008, aside from a slight increase in late 2006.
Streaming video Unchanged More or less unchanged overall in 2008. Slight downward trend 2004-2006.
Torrent Up Steady increase 2004-2008.
Web 2.0 Down Peaked in 2007.
Web 3.0 Down Was increasing in 2006-2007, but 2008 has seen a slight decrease.
Web service Down Peaked in 2005. Slight downward trend since then.
Web TV Down Sharp increase in 2007, slight decrease in 2008.
Video streaming Up Sharp increase in 2008.
Widget Unchanged More or less unchanged in 2008. Interest rose sharply in Q2 2005.
WiFi Up Slight upward trend 2004-2008.
Wiki Up Steady increase since 2005.
VOIP Down Peaked in 2005.

We hope you found this interesting!

If we missed any terms you feel are relevant, please let us know in the comments.

A few notes regarding the data:
We used Google Insights for Search to see the trends for the different terms. That data is from 2004 and onward. For terms with more than one word we used quotes to get exact matches (e.g. “social media”).

No Comments

Nice piece….although it doesn’t look good for the semantic web as it hasn’t even arrived yet!

Semantic web probably is on a downward trend because a common net user probably doesn’t understand its meaning (pun is intentional :-) ). And then, it has not arrived yet as David points out.

The other interesting bit is about SaaS seeing a slight upward trend. I am sure this is one piece that is going to pick up big time given the current global economic scenario. This provides a nice, cheap, pay-as-you-use kind of an alternative, which doesn’t hurt pockets too much.

There is already a lot of talk about SMEs going this route in a big way. I just hope terms like SaaS, PaaS don’t turn off people/businesses who are not that tech-savvy.

Nice article, Pingdom.

What about Enterprise 2.0?

Really great job reporting this. I’m curious how you gathered the data, would you be willing to share?

Thanks everyone for the comments so far.

@Sri: SaaS SHOULD have an upward trend, considering that more and more services and features are moved online. Then of course, a couple of years from now, people might be using a different term.

@CJR: Not a bad idea. We should add it.

@Ryan: Thanks. Regarding how we gathered the data, check out Google’s tool “Insights for Search”. That is what we used:

We just manually went through the terms and looked at the graphs. Note that if you want exact results for terms with more than one word, you need to put them in quotes.

Or were you wondering about something else?

Good job. A comparative table would add more value to this with two data: absolute and relative propularity.


December 2nd, 2009 at 5:14 am

A considered analysis on the rise and fall of buzz words.Precisely indicative of the trend.
Well thought out.