12 Top Search Trends To Kick Off 12/12/12 Google Zeitgeist

Don’t worry, Google’s year in review for 2012 isn’t that predictable for the once in a lifetime calendar event. On the official Google 2012 Zeitgeist website, you’ll find their biggest list ever published, with a total of 838 lists from 55 countries, covering 1.2 trillion searches done worldwide.

Digging in deeper, Google has divided the massive data set into two major buckets:

Trending Searches: What was hot in 2012? The “trending” queries are the searches that had the highest amount of traffic over a sustained period in 2012 as compared to 2011.

Most Searched: What topped Google’s charts? The “most searched” queries are simply the most popular terms for 2012, ranked in order by volume of searches.

Google will also be debuting several new features in this year’s Zeitgeist lists, including an interactive map that shows global spikes in search terms, and a brand new Android app will be released on 12/12/12, and will later appear as an iOS version.

For now, enjoy these 12 top ten lists in celebration of the 12/12/12 Google Zeitgeist, starting with the video below:

YouTube Preview Image

US Trending & Most Searched Terms

Trending Searches in 2012

  1. Whitney Houston
  2. Hurricane Sandy
  3. Election 2012
  4. Hunger Games
  5. Jeremy Lin
  6. Olympics 2012
  7. Amanda Todd
  8. Gangnam Style
  9. Michael Clarke Duncan
  10. Kony 2012

Trending People in 2012

  1. Whitney Houston
  2. Jeremy Lin
  3. Amanda Todd
  4. Michael Clark Duncan
  5. Kate Middleton
  6. One Direction
  7. Morgan Freeman
  8. Peyton Manning
  9. Joe Paterno
  10. Paul Ryan

No massive surprises here, given the nature of many of these newsmakers, but compared to top trending people on Ask, Bing & Yahoo, it is nice to see a lot of diversity in the types of personalities searched for. I’m not quite sure how the boy band “One Direction” qualifies as “people”, but we’ll give the wee lads a break this one time.

While Kate Middleton managed to rank one slot higher in the US over Global trending searches, she’ll surely be upstaged by her own royal offspring in 2013.

Most Searched People in 2012

  1. Whitney Houston
  2. Justin Bieber
  3. Kim Kardashian
  4. Nicki Minaj
  5. Mitt Romney
  6. Kate Upton
  7. Miley Cyrus
  8. Kristen Stewart
  9. Selena Gomez
  10. Taylor Swift

Don’t worry, Justin, Mittens will protect you from those crazy ladies by fighting them off with binders. Being in that crowd surely will put to rest any rumors that Romney isn’t hip, right?

Trending Events in 2012

  1. Hurricane Sandy
  2. Presidential Election
  3. Super Bowl
  4. Olympics
  5. UEFA Euro 2012
  6. Kony Movement
  7. SOPA Protest
  8. Aurora Shooting
  9. Trayvon Martin Case
  10. Hurricane Isaac

Natural disasters bookend the trending events list for 2012, but among the tragedies that drew national attention, there were some bright sports searches with the Super Bowl and the 2012 Olympics.

The SOPA Protest, in which Google participated in a “Blackout Day”, makes a strong showing in trending events for this year’s Zeitgeist.

Trending Tech Gadgets

  1. iPad 3
  2. iPad Mini
  3. Samsung Galaxy S3
  4. Kindle Fire
  5. Nexus 7
  6. Microsoft Surface
  7. Galaxy Note 2
  8. Samsung Galaxy S2
  9. iPhone 5
  10. Nokia Lumia 900

A fair amount of Android devices present among trending searches, although iPad and iPhone aren’t quite ready to give up their spots at the top just yet. Interesting to see that the Microsoft Surface did capture enough search interest to rise above the Galaxy products.

Trending Phones

  1. iPhone 5
  2. iPhone 4s
  3. Samsung Galaxy S3
  4. Galaxy Note
  5. Galaxy Note 2
  6. Blackberry Bold
  7. Blackberry Curve
  8. Nokia Lumia 900
  9. Windows Phone 8
  10. Motorola Droid Razr

Trending Mobile/Tablet Apps

  1. Temple Run
  2. Instagram
  3. Logo Quiz
  4. Draw Something
  5. Socialcam
  6. Angry Birds Space
  7. Pinterest
  8. Maps App
  9. Amazon App
  10. Facebook App

Trending Political Gaffes in 2012

  1. Big Bird
  2. 47 percent
  3. Binders full of women
  4. Airplane Windows
  5. Legitimate Rape
  6. Private sector is doing fine
  7. More flexibility mic slip
  8. President’s Stick
  9. Three Presidents intimately
  10. Y’all back in chains

Of the most ridiculous things said during this year’s Presidential election, isn’t nice to know that searchers might turn to Sesame Street for educational purposes almost as much as they Google random phrases?

Global Trending Searches

Trending Searches in 2012

  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

You can’t keep PSY down! Gangnam went global, we said goodbyes and worldwide interest turned to royal watching, and a super storm of news.

Trending Events in 2012

  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

Trending People in 2012

  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

Felix Baumgartner’s epic freefall jump #STRATOS not only put him on the trending events list, but also the top trending people globally. Again, it’s likely that in both lists this time next year, we’ll be clearing the top of the heap for a new little prince or princess.

Trending 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

It’s interesting to note that the Play Station is the only gaming console that makes this more general list, which is overwhelmingly populated with tablets and smartphones. Any predictions for 2013?

Related Topics: Channel: Search Marketing | Features: Analysis | Google: Trends | Search & Society: General | Stats: General


About The Author: is Director of Audience Development for Search Engine Land and Marketing Land. She is responsible for increasing readership through owned, earned and paid media channels. In addition, she assists in programming sessions at Third Door Media's Search Marketing Expo conference series and manages speaking engagements for editorial staff. Follow her on Twitter @elisabethos.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn


Get all the top search stories emailed daily!  


Other ways to share:

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.
  • kiran bhanushali

    Nexus 7 made it to the consumer electronic list. Nice

  • http://profiles.google.com/ajfried Aaron Friedman

    I am very saddened that Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian and Nicki Minaj are the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th most searched people… humanity

  • http://twitter.com/marthapreston4 martha preston

    I have been looking for a list like this for a while. I shows how out of touch I am I dont know who some of the tredning people are. And I agree with Aaron having reality stars at the top of the list worries me

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest


Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States


Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech

Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!



Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide