Last year it was “Kardashian,” this year’s most searched trending term on Google perhaps more closely reflects what has been going on in the world. In 2013, the death of the great statesman and freedom fighter, Nelson Mandela, heads the list. Google have released the data on their top trending searches today.
The results demonstrate the queries that had the most traffic “over a sustained period” as compared to the previous year. Taking second place is Paul Walker, the star of the Fast & Furious franchise films, whose untimely recent death in a motor accident has been much reported on and who is still greatly mourned by his many fans. In third position is the iPhone 5s, the latest model in the popular smartphone range which came out in the fall.
Another celebrity death, this time from a drug overdose, was the fourth most searched item. This was Cory Monteith, star of Glee, who also topped the Golden Tweets of 2013, announced last week. The top ten is completed, in descending order, by Harlem Shake, Boston Marathon, Royal Baby, Samsung Galaxy S4, Playstation 4 and North Korea. These are collated from the global figures.
Technology is still a major interest for millions, as evidenced by 3 of the top 10 spots being taken by gadgets. The deaths of the famous are also a trigger that drive people to search for more information. This year saw two such deaths of relatively young men, and the death of Mandela, an iconic individual. The Harlem Shake is an interesting addition to the listings. A song that spawned a host of dance videos, it shows that people enjoy some song and dance along with their breaking news and royal birth announcements.
In the United States, the results are similar with the top five in a different order. Paul Walker’s demise is the number one, with Boston Marathon at two and Mandela in third place.
Miley Cyrus, perhaps unsurprisingly, was the most searched for individual in the US. She also introduced the word “twerking” into the language. This category is almost completely dominated by musicians, which may bode well for the health and vigor of the music industry. Kim Kardashian is the only non-musician in the top ten here, at third spot. Drake is number two. From fourth position it goes, in descending order; Justin Bieber, Beyonce, Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez, Katy Perry and Kanye West. Feminists may take heart at the female prevalence in this category.
The annual round-up from Google gives a sneaky peek into what is really going on in the minds of its millions of users. It is by far the most powerful search engine on the internet and hosts two-thirds of all search traffic. Bing is its nearest rival, but Bing only takes around 18% of all search enquiries from the US.
In 2013, Google has sliced up its data pie into a plethora of pieces, and created over 90 different lists, from 72 countries worth of information. It was doubtless pleased to find itself on one of these. This is the list for top trending stocks, where they come in at number 4. They still have a way to go to catch up with Facebook Inc, who have more than doubled their shares, as have Twitter.
In Canada, it was controversial mayor Rob Ford who topped the searches, and in the UK, it was Facebook.
One thing that has not changed, and maybe never will, is that the second question in the “what is” topics, was “what is love?” This was right up there last year too, and amongst all the politics, the deaths, the births, and the technological innovations that the world throws up. The fundamental search for most human beings is summed up in that one, rather poignant, query.
See all the charts and results on the Google zeitgeist page.
By Kate Henderson