by Kristin Burnham

Google’s ‘Zeitgeist 2012’ Reveals Top Search Trends

Dec 12, 20122 mins

From Big Bird to "binders full of women," Google's in-depth and interactive website explores this year's most-searched topics.

This year, the expected, the unusual and the surprising all topped Google’s most-searched topics.

Zeitgeist 2012, Google’s interactive website that highlights the year’s top search trends from around the world, includes 838 searchable and categorized lists from 55 countries.

Singer Whitney Houston topped the global list as the number-one search term of the year, following her unexpected death in February. “Gangnam Style,” the viral hit from Korean YouTube sensation PSY came in at number two, followed by searches related to Hurricane Sandy. You can view the entire list of top searches here.


In technology searches, the iPad 3, Samsung Galaxy S3 and the iPad Mini nabbed the top global spots for consumer electronics, while Temple Run, Instagram and Google Play were the most-searched mobile apps in the U.S.

The presidential election was the number-two most searched subject in the U.S. this year, sparking a number of related search queries: Big Bird, “47 percent” and “binders full of women” topped the list of most-searched political gaffes, while Paul Ryan, Ron Paul and Barack Obama were the top-trending U.S. politicians.

Travel was also a big search term this year, with Toronto, Paris and San Juan nabbing the top international travel destinations.. The top-searched U.S. cities were San Francisco, Chicago and Denver.

In some of the more unusual lists from the U.S., margaritas, bloody marys and mojitos were the most searched cocktails, while Americans searched most for exercises related to abs, shoulders and chest.

To view all the lists from around the world, you can download the PDF here.