This may sound like a bit of a strange post for my “most popular” series, but please bear with me for a moment.

Google Insights is a tool that allows you to map how often, and from where, people use specific search terms. TechCrunch has a useful post about it.

When I checked to see users from which countries most searched for the term “ESL,” the top three were South Korea, Cambodia, and Mongolia. When I checked on the term “EFL,” the top three were Oman, South Korea, and Poland. And when I checked “English,” the top three were Cambodia, Mongolia, and Pakistan.

I could see this site having some opportunities to create conversation in the classroom. For example, I think it could initiate an interesting conversation with Hmong students to find that the term “Hmong” was searched for most, by far, in Laos, where some Hmong still live and from where my students’ families fled. Then, when I searched for “General Vang Pao,” the most well-known leader of the Hmong here in the United States and one of several people arrested here in Sacramento last year for allegedly planning a coup in Laos, practically all the searches came from within the United States.

I have to think a little bit more about how this new tool can be used and am interested in hearing other ideas.

In addition, here are a couple of other resources for finding the most popular “search” terms:

What People Search For – Most Popular Keywords is an article that appeared almost three years ago sharing a lot places where people could find this type of info. Surprisingly enough, practically all of the links are still live, accurate, and useful.

Chromomulator is a new site that “takes the top 100 Google searches at the moment (from Google Trends) and scours the web, collecting related news, blog posts, pictures, and videos for each search. If you need to know everything about what’s hot on the net right now, the Chromomulator can tell you. Updated several times daily.”

As I mentioned earlier in this post, I’d be interested in hearing ideas on how to use these sites and their information effectively in the classroom.