Posted Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2009, at 9:42 AM
If we are what we Google, then Google Hot Trends —an hourly rundown of search terms "that experience sudden surges in popularity"— is the Web's best cultural barometer. Here's a sampling of today's top searches. (Rankings on Hot Trends list current as of 8 a.m.)
No. 1: "facebook lite." Wait, Facebook is actually taking features away !? After years of adding tabs, apps, and polls, Facebook has started beta testing a new "lite" version that trades Mob Wars and Superwalls for a stripped-down, quick-loading interface. Some are speculating that Facebook is making a move on Twitter; Techcrunch insists Facebook Lite is meant mainly to make the site faster for users without a broadband Internet connection. Currently, the beta test is only available to a small number of users in India.
No. 8: "perseid meteor shower." The sky is falling, and it should be spectacular. Tonight is the peak of the annual Perseid meteor showers, when 60 to 80 visible meteors per hour will shoot out of the Perseus constellation (for those able to get away from bright city lights, at least). According to NASA , the best time to catch the showers will be from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., when glare from the moon is low. Look to the Northeast.
No. 64: "Wallace Souza." Imagine if Unsolved Mysteries host Robert Stack had gone around kidnapping young women and shining weird lights in people's eyes from southwestern mountaintops. This is essentially the charge against Brazilian TV host and legislator Wallace Souza, who has been accused of commissioning at least five murders in order to cover them on his popular true crime show."To say that a program that has had a huge audience for so many years had to resort to killing people to increase this audience is absolutely absurd," Souza told the AP .
Photo of meteor shower courtesy of Flickr user Retro Traveler .