Google’s Top Searches Reveal Most Interesting People, Events of 2012

By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2012-12-19 Print this article Print
Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston was the most-searched-for term both in the United States and worldwide. After making headlines for decades for her hit records, sold-out shows, tempestuous marriage to Bobby Brown and eventual struggles with substance addiction, in February the 48-year-old Houston drowned in a hotel bathtub with a cocktail of drugs in her system. The three most-searched-for images in the world were for boy-band One Direction, baby-faced singer and actress Selena Gomez and the Apple iPhone 5.


Google closed out 2012 with its 12th annual Year-End Zeitgeist—top-10 lists of the most-Googled people, events, devices, movies, athletes, and more. The top searches, culled from the 1.2 trillion requests posed to Google across 146 languages, put the year and the world in succinct terms: There was a U.S. presidential election, a new royal family member and a London Summer Olympics, while legends died and a crop of new faces, from pop act One Direction to basketball phenom Jeremy Lin, insinuated themselves in the public imagination. In a Dec. 12 blog post, Google called the zeitgeist "'the spirit of the times' as seen through the billions of searches on Google over the past year." More than any other topic, the world searched for news of Whitney Houston, the singer and actress who passed away under tragic but mysterious conditions in February. On a lighter note, the world's second most searched-for term was "Gangnam Style," the video by South Korean rapper PSY, spoofing the residents of a bourgeoisie suburb of Seoul—and then we grew serious again, pouring over the Web for images and news of Hurricane Sandy's wrath. Here, eWEEK has collected a dozen images of the topics that made people around the world most often turn to Google.


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