From The New York Times:
Google's worldwide scope means that the company can track ideas and phenomena as they hop from country to country.
Take Las Ketchup, a trio of singing sisters who became a sensation in Spain last spring with a gibberish song and accompanying knee-knocking dance similar to the Macarena.
Like a series of waves, Google searches for Las Ketchup undulated through Europe over the summer and fall, first peaking in Spain, then Italy, then Germany and France.
"The Ketchup Song (Hey Hah)" has already topped the charts in 18 countries. A ring tone is available for mobile phones. A parody of the song that mocks Chancellor Gerhard Schröder for raising taxes has raced to the top of the charts in Germany.
In late summer, Google's logs show, Las Ketchup searches began a strong upward climb in the United States, Britain and the Netherlands.
Haven't heard of Las Ketchup? If you haven't, Google predicts you soon will.
Dancing in Belfast
In the car, six year old Emma reached from the backseat to turn up the volume in the front. I watched with bewilderment at her ability to sing every word of it, including the Spanish ones. During the chorus, she danced to it, obviously to a choregraphed version.
"What is this?" I asked.
"It's the Ketchup song," she replied.
While her dad Peter gave me a brief history of the conflict in Northern Ireland, I took in the scenery of the coast east of Belfast city. It's a beautiful country, I thought, as we drove on the hilly roads. We stopped at a park and walked on the beach.
One of my ex-colleagues and another friend had told me that Northern Ireland was worth a visit. They didn't tell me it was beautiful like this. They didn't tell me that the people were so nice.
This evening, after the family reunion dinner, we followed little Emma and danced to the Ketchup song. These were songs that teenagers sing and dance to. I've never heard of "Teenage Dirtbag." They were so danceable that I soon became a kid myself. Emma's mother Nancy threw off her shoes and socks and started dancing. Robin and Maria May joined in. Jeremy danced and took pictures. Emma's sister Lucy was lured from upstairs to join us.
What a family - father, mother, and daughters to dance with uncles and friends from 7 pm to midnight! Like there's no tomorrow, we danced like no one's watching.
24 November 2002 Sunday
It's my first time in Belfast, a name nearly synonymous with the IRA and danger. However, it's not at all what I had expected. It's like any other city in England, with its chain shops, banks, etc. The difference is that it's on the island of Ireland and Irish hospitality rules.
My friend Jeremy invited me to his family reunion as his brother Robin and girlfriend Maria May were visiting from the south of France. After hitch-hiking from Hatton Cross, where the tube had stopped due to signalling problems, we managed to get on the plane at Heathrow Airport on time. About an hour later, his brothers Peter and Robin greeted us with warm smiles in Belfast City Airport.
Jeremy's mom Joy welcomed us to her home, to a tasty hot lunch.
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