Google previously updated Trends in May 2013 when it first added the Top Charts feature to help users keep up with the latest people, places, products and subjects that are trending in Google searches. The lists, which are ranked by search interest by millions of users online, are updated monthly. A wide assortment of more than 40 list categories are featured in Top Charts, including actors, animals, athletes, authors, baseball players, baseball teams, books, cars, cities, colleges and universities, movies, musical artists, politicians, reality shows, retail companies, scientists and more.
The 2013 Zeitgeist list, which was released Dec. 17, is Google's largest such effort yet, with 1,000-plus top 10 lists across categories such as "Trending People," "Most-Searched Events" and "Top Trending Searches" from 72 countries. "Trending" Web searches are searches about hot topics that had the highest amount of traffic over a sustained period in 2013 as compared with 2012.
Rounding out the Top 10 list for most popular global trending searches for 2013 are Cory Monteith, a Canadian actor who died in July from a drug overdose; Harlem Shake dances; the Boston Marathon and the horrific terrorist bombings that occurred there this year on April 15; the birth of the Royal baby, Prince George, to Prince William and Kate Middleton in England; the introduction of the new Samsung Galaxy S 4 smartphone; the debut of the new Sony PlayStation 4 gaming system; and North Korea and its leaders and ongoing controversies.
The Boston Marathon bombings topped the Global Events List for 2013, followed by Typhoon Haiyan, which decimated the Philippines, and the U.S. government shutdown.
Just a year ago, Google's Zeitgeist 2012 global and U.S. search lists were topped by Whitney Houston and her volatile personal life and tragic death in February 2012, followed by the Gangnam Style dance and the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. The Apple iPad 3 came in at No. 4, and the video game "Diablo 3" landed in the No. 5 spot in 2012.
Rounding out the rest of the top 10 global searches for 2012 were Kate Middleton at No. 6; the 2012 Olympics at No. 7; Amanda Todd, a Canadian teen who committed suicide in October after being the victim of vicious bullying, at No. 8; actor Michael Clarke Duncan (the big actor from "The Green Mile") at No. 9; and the television show "Big Brother Brazil 2012" (BBB12) in the 10th spot.
The Google Zeitgeist list was quite different in 2011, when one-hit Web wonder Rebecca Black, who sang the song "Friday," ranked first, followed by searches about Google's then-new Google+ service. Actor Ryan Dunn, the "Jackass" TV show star who was killed in an auto accident in June 2011, ranked third on that list, followed by Casey Anthony, who was found not guilty in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, in fourth. The top five in 2011 was rounded out by the release of the first-person shooter video game "Battlefield 3."