It will be interesting to see what the TV ratings for Thursday night's presidential primary debate look like once they come out. It started out with enormous intensity, but quickly faded. It's pretty safe to assume that viewership did, too.

We can see one potential point to reinforce that. The most Googled candidate in the debate at any point was Ted Cruz -- with 67 percent more searches at his peak than the next most-searched candidate's peak.


It's hard to see the sustained interest over the course of the two hours on that graph, but we can get some sense. The search volume is all relative to each other; a "100," the Cruz peak, is the most search in a minute for a candidate.

On average, Trump held the most sustained search interest, surprise, surprise. Notice that Ben Carson maintained steady interest, too -- followed by Cruz and Marco Rubio.


The key point: We have no idea what this means. We don't know if the spike in Cruz searches will convert people to his cause, or the new attention to Carson will boost him in the polls. We don't know.

But we do, at least, have some sense of who people wanted to know more about. We'll see if this reveals anything more significant down the road.


Update 3: Strong closes

What the Republican field not named Trump needed to do during the Fox News debate was get people to spread the attention around a bit. With the debate over, it looks like at least some of them did.

In the first half hour, people Googled Ted Cruz. As the night progressed, Ben Carson and Marco Rubio started to attract some attention. Jeb Bush got people interested when the moderators mentioned his alleged comments about the businessman -- perhaps because they wanted to look up what he said.


Notice that circle, though. In the minutes after the first debate, interest in Carly Fiorina increased quickly as people presumably went to Google her after watching her performance. In the minutes right after the debate, the spike this time was Rubio and Carson.


Update 2: The doldrums

So, this thing slowed down a bit, right? We start off with Donald Trump and Rand Paul scrapping and then Trump and Megyn Kelly tussling and then ... the brakes.

But people still were checking candidates out. In the second half hour, it was Ben Carson and Marco Rubio's turn to get a little interest. Nothing huge; nothing like what Ted Cruz got in the first half hour. But -- something. People were paying attention when Carson gave a sharp response on terrorism and Rubio talked about how to grow business in response to someone's question from Facebook.


This thing is winding down. It was toward the end of the first forum that Lindsey Graham prompted everyone to go look him up. We'll see if someone else can do the same.


Update 1: The most-searched person in the first half hour of the GOP debate? Ted Cruz -- by far.

For weeks, the 2016 candidate that has dominated Google searches has been Donald Trump. Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump.

But during the Fox News debate on Thursday night, that changed. First, Carly Fiorina and Lindsey Graham beat Trump in searches during the warm-up forum. Then Jeb Bush and Ben Carson beat him during their introductions.

And then Ted Cruz started talking.


Before the emergence of Trump, Cruz ruled the Republican social roost. This is something different, of course; this is people searching for Cruz to presumably learn more.

Trump had a few little spikes, too -- particularly when he had his difficult exchange on immigration with Chris Wallace.

All data in the graphs above comes from Google Trends.

From businessman Donald Trump's slam on O'Donnell to Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) getting into it over hugs, here are some of the most memorable moments from first Republican presidential debate. (Fox News Channel)