Zeitgeist 2012 – Top Google Search Terms For This Year

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Google has announced its Zeitgeist 2012 list of most popular search terms as seen through 1.2 trillion searches in 146 languages worldwide on Google Search over the past year.

This year’s world list, Google’s 12th annual year-end zeitgeist, followed the hottest trends and most popular search terms across the globe.

Google, the world’s largest online search company, had exactly 838 lists from 55 countries in a year when it included several new features, such as its interactive map for the hottest terms that increased worldwide and the release of its Google Zeitgeist Android app (with an iOS version in the works).

“So what kinds of things were top of mind this year? While there are perennial themes—“what is love?” topped the list in 10 countries—it’s the unusual and surprising that caught our attention in 2012,” said Amit Singhal, SVP & Google Fellow, in a blog post.

News of the surprising death of iconic singer Whitney Houston surged to the top many countries’ search lists, as fans worldwide flocked online to confirm her demise and extend condolences to her family.

“Gangnam Style,” the popular song by YouTube sensation and Korean singer PSY, and its signature dance took the world by storm, landing him on top of many countries’ lists, making his song the second most trending search query of the past year, and its corresponding music video became the most watched video in YouTube history.

Hurricane Sandy was the third most searched term in 2012. The hurricane wreaked havoc portions of the Caribbean and the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States during late October and was classified a Category 2 storm at its peak intensity.

Felix Baumgartner, the Austrian skydiver who made an epic free fall jump from space, was the sixth globally trending person of the year, whereas the 2012 Olympics and its athletes came through into almost every country’s top trends. LINsanity drove NBA player Jeremy Lin to the top of this year’s top trending athletes.

Internet users got involved and immersed themselves into serious topics as well, including campaigns against proposals like ACTA and SOPA – both threats to the open Internet, and the U.S. November elections added concerns to the candidates and issues.

Zeitgeist 2012 – Top Google Search Terms For This Year

Image: uggboy via Flickr (CC)


  1. Whitney Houston
  2. Gangnam Style
  3. Hurricane Sandy
  4. iPad 3
  5. Diablo 3
  6. Kate Middleton
  7. Olympics 2012
  8. Amanda Todd
  9. Michael Clarke Duncan
  10. BBB12 


  1. One Direction
  2. Selena Gomez
  3. iPhone 5
  4. Megan Fox
  5. Rihanna
  6. Justin Bieber
  7. Harry Styles
  8. Minecraft
  9. Nicki Minaj
  10. Katy Perry 


  1. Jeremy Lin
  2. Michael Phelps
  3. Peyton Manning
  4. McKayla Maroney
  5. Junior Seau
  6. Sarah Burke
  7. Tom Daley
  8. Lance Armstrong
  9. Mario Balotelli
  10. Ryan Lochte 


  1. Hurricane Sandy
  2. Kate Middleton Pictures Released
  3. Olympics 2012
  4. SOPA Debate
  5. Costa Concordia crash
  6. Presidential Debate
  7. Stratosphere Jump
  8. Penn State Scandal
  9. Trayvon Martin shooting
  10. Pussy Riots 


  1. Whitney Houston
  2. Kate Middleton
  3. Amanda Todd
  4. Michael Clarke Duncan
  5. One Direction
  6. Felix Baumgartner
  7. Jeremy Lin
  8. Morgan Freeman
  9. Joseph Kony
  10. Donna Summer 

Feature Films

  1. The Hunger Games
  2. Skyfall
  3. Prometheus
  4. The Avengers
  5. Magic Mike
  6. John Carter
  7. Ek Tha Tiger
  8. Paranormal Activity 4
  9. Taken 2
  10. Dark Shadows 

TV Shows

  1. BBB12
  2. Avenida Brasil
  3. Here Comes Honey Boo Boo
  4. The Voice
  5. American Idol
  6. Game of Thrones
  7. Homeland
  8. Revenge
  9. Cheias de Charme
  10. Carrossel 

Performing Artists

  1. Whitney Houston
  2. Michael Clarke Duncan
  3. One Direction
  4. Donna Summer
  5. Lana Del Rey
  6. Carolina Dieckmann
  7. Dirk Bach
  8. Carly Rae Jepsen
  9. Michel Telo
  10. LMFAO 

Consumer Electronics

  1. iPad 3
  2. Samsung Galaxy S3
  3. iPad Mini
  4. Nexus 7
  5. Galaxy Note 2
  6. Play Station
  7. iPad 4
  8. Microsoft Surface
  9. Kindle Fire
  10. Nokia Lumia 920 


  1. Southwest Airlines
  2. United Airlines
  3. American Airlines
  4. Delta Airlines
  5. Air France
  6. Lufthansa
  7. British Airways
  8. JetBlue
  9. Air Canada
  10. US Airways 

Google+ Hashtags

  1. #SOPA
  2. #Awesome
  3. #Sandy
  4. #IO12
  5. #Curiosity
  6. #Olympics
  7. #SXSW
  8. #Debate
  9. #BlastFromThePast
  10. #Eastwooding

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Author: Francis Rey

Franz believes voracious readers become good writers. So, he reads anything that piques his interest. He spends his downtime on road trips and binges.

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