Google Reveals 2012’s Top Trending Searches

The February death of Whitney Houston made the singer the top trending search term in 2012, says Google in its Zeitgeist report, which studied an aggregation of more than 1 trillion searches (or queries) using data from multiple sources including Google Trends and internal data tools. Next on the list, Gangnam Style, the music video approaching 1 billion views on YouTube.

Events – both positive and negative – also made the list, with Hurricane Sandy in 3rd and Olympics 2012 in 7th. Tech also made an appearance, with the iPad 3 in the 4th spot.

6 of the top 10 search trends from around the world also appeared on the list of top trending search terms in the US. The remaining 4 in the US that didn’t make it onto the global list were Election 2012 (#3), Hunger Games (#4), Jeremy Lin (#5), and KONY 2012 (#10), which was the most viral video ad of the year.

Hurricane Sandy was the top trending event around the world and in the US. Interestingly, while the Penn State scandal made it onto the list of top-trending events around the world, it did not make the US list.

Below, a brief selection of top-5 lists from around the world and in the US.

  • Consumer Electronics – The World

1. iPad 3
2. Samsung Galaxy S3
3. iPad Mini
4. Nexus 7
5. Galaxy Note 2

  • Feature Films – The World

1. The Hunger Games
2. Skyfall
3. Prometheus
4. The Avengers
5. Magic Mike

  • People – US

1. Whitney Houston
2. Jeremy Lin
3. Amanda Todd
4. Michael Clark Duncan
5. Kate Middleton

  • Local Places in Google Maps – US (note: most searched, not trending)

1. Hotel
2. Restaurant
3. Walmart
4. Apartment
5. Starbucks

Celebrities Dominate Top Yahoo! Searches

Yahoo! also recently released its list of top US searches for the year, featuring a rather different list than Google’s trending searches in the US. The top search term overall on Yahoo! was “election,” followed by “iphone 5.” After that, though, celebrity searches occupied 6 of the remaining 8 spots, led by “kim kardashian.” Yahoo’s top 10 searches were:

1. election
2. iphone 5
3. kim kardashian
4. kate upton
5. kate middleton
6. whitney houston
7. olympics
8. political polls
9. lindsay lohan
10. jennifer lopez

Kony 2012 also made its way onto a Yahoo! list this year, heading the list of top-searched memes on Yahoo!, beating out the popular Governor Romney debate-inspired “binders full of women.” Rounding out the top 5 top-searched memes were: “hurricane sandy fake storm photos”; “ridiculously photogenic guy”; and “big bird”. In the 10th spot: “mckayla maroney is not impressed.”

Pinterest Not On Bing’s Most-Searched Social Media List

While Pinterest has earned its share of buzz this year, moving up to become the 4th-leading social network in the US by market share of visits, it is conspicuously absent from Bing’s top social media search list, according to the search engine’s late November release of its own top 10 lists.

Topping the social media search list was Facebook, followed by Twitter, and surprisingly, Myspace. LinkedIn and Tumblr rounded out the top 5, ahead of Instagram, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Digg, and Klout.

In terms of the top consumer electronics searches on Bing, Apple devices held 5 of the top 10 spots, led by the iPhone 5 (#1) and iPad (#2), with the iPod Touch also making an appearance at the #6 spot.

Other Findings:

  • One Direction was the most searched for image on Google in the US, followed by Funny Pictures and Nicki Minaj.
  • The most-searched cities in Google Maps were San Francisco, Chicago, and Denver.
  • The top trending political gaffe on Google was “Big Bird,” followed by “47 percent” and “Binders full of women.”
  • American Idol topped the list of most-searched TV shows on both Google and Bing.
  • Groupon, coupons, deals, and daily deals found their way onto the list of top-searched economic terms on Bing. Others included real estate agent, loan, and credit union.
  • Kim Kardashian was the most-searched for person on Bing, ahead of Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus.