It’s now reached that time of year when we look back over the events of the last 12 months and see what made the headlines.
No doubt in the next week or two the TV will be full of programmes doing exactly that: you can guarantee that we’ll be subjected to the best 50 comedies of the year show at the very least. It’s harmless enough, and to some extent is now part of the New Year tradition. However, there’s a much better barometer of what struck a chord in the public consciousness over the course of the year, and that’s the annual publication of Google’s search results, or the zeitgeist report. The search engine giant churns one of these out each year, and no matter how cynical you might be, they always make good reading. Mind you, they’re not alone in doing this: Bing, Twitter and Yahoo also produce their own lists too. Are the results consistent across the platforms? Well, judge for yourself.
Google’s top 10 searches for 2012 are actually quite surprising.
Given this year has been a massive one for sporting endeavour you’d naturally expect the Olympics to be right up there as the most popular search term. Yet the 14 day sporting-fest was knocked off top spot by Euro 2012. The only mention of the summer games in the top 10 this year was ‘Olympic tickets. Given the fiasco that surrounded those that shouldn’t really come as too much of a surprise. Staying on the Olympic theme, London was naturally the most searched for holiday destination, with the next Summer Olympic hosts, Rio, following close behind.
Who was the most searched for person on Google this year? Well, most people would probably have taken a punt on Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge. Obviously she did make the top 10 as you would expect, but her online popularity was eclipsed by that of troubled singer Whitney Houston who died in February. Bing’s top 10 people search looks altogether different. Topping the list was reality TV star Kim Kardashian closely followed by Justin Beiber. Ms Kardashian also topped Yahoo’s most-searched for list.
The Olympics featured strongly in terms of sporting personalities on Google which shouldn’t really come as too much of a surprise. Usain Bolt topped the most-searched for list globally, whilst in the UK the title of the most popular sports person was awarded to tennis player, Andy Murray, closely followed by diver, Tom Daley, and athlete and all-round golden girl Jess Ennis. On Bing poor old Usain couldn’t even make the top 3: tennis player, Serena Williams, athlete, Lolo Jones, and basketball player, LeBron James were the most-searched for personalities.
Cyclist, Victoria Pendleton, topped the list for the most-searched for reality TV star, though she would probably take exception to that title, given the number of competitive cycling medals she’s won over the years. What about Boris Johnson? Surely, given London’s global profile over the summer he must have been the politician everyone wanted to search for? Well, apparently not. Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, beat him into second place, for reasons that he would probably like to forget.
In terms of film and TV, there are no prizes for guessing that the latest Bond movie, Skyfall, swept all before it. However, what might come as a bit of a shock is that the CBeebies show, Mike the Knight, comprehensively beat the U.S. cult TV show, Homeland. Home-grown classic British Bake Off also made it into the top 10 this year.
Top UK searches for 2012:
- Euro 2012.
- Olympic tickets.
- Whitney Houston.
- Kate Middleton.
- April Jones.
- NatWest Online.
- iPad 3.
- Gary Barlow.
- Gangnam style.