If you only review one year-end round up for 2012, Google Zeitgeist is the way to go. For the 12th year, the online search giant has condensed everything that has been most important to us – i.e. what we’ve searched for the most – into an addictive, interactive online tool that best represents the “spirit of the times,” as Google calls it.
Topping the trending-search list, both in the U.S. and worldwide, was singer Whitney Houston, who died in February. Korean singer PSY’s “Gangnam Style,” which became the most-watched YouTube video of all time this year, came in at number two worldwide, and number eight in the U.S., where Hurricane Sandy took the second-highest trending spot. (Sandy was number three worldwide.) Interestingly, Apple’s iPad 3 came in fourth worldwide, but didn’t even make it into the top 10 in the U.S., though it was a popular search for Americans.
Google also lists less-obvious topics than celebrities and big events, such as the most-searched “how to…” queries in the U.S., which this year was “how to love,” which is nice. As for the “what is…” category, “what is SOPA,” or the Stop Online Privacy Act, came in first. SOPA was pushed off Congress’s agenda in January after a mass online protest against the anti-piracy bill helped along by Google, which blacked out its logo for a day in opposition to the legislation. #SOPA was also the most-used hashtag on Google+.
The top gadgets in the U.S., in terms of searches, were the iPad 3, the iPad Mini, and the Samsung Galaxy S3. The Microsoft Surface tablet came in at number six, while the iPhone 5 barely made the top 10, at number nine.
Check out the Google Zeitgeist website here, or download the full list for all countries here: PDF. But if you do nothing else, watch Google’s Zeitgeist 2012 video below. It’ll make you feel all tingly inside.