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Whitney Houston, Gangnam Style top Google 2012 search rankings

12 Dec 2012
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The death of singer Whitney Houston and Hurricane Sandy's arrival were among the most popular search topics in 2012, according to Google's annual Zeitgeist report.

Google said that Houston's name was the most popular search term on the year, followed by "Gangnam Style" and "Hurricane Sandy." Apple's "iPad 3" and the video game "Diablo 3" rounded out the search engine's top five.

Google reported that it carried out 1.2 trillion searches during the year, with celebrities, sporting events and natural disaster among the most popular trending search terms.

In the UK, sports were by far the dominant search topic. "Euro 2012" topped all search queries, followed by "Olympic tickets" and "Whitney Houston." The Royal Wedding was also a hot topic in the UK, with "Kate Middleton" as the fourth most popular overall search and the second most popular person search behind Whitney Houston.

The release of Royal Wedding photos were the second most popular news event, topped only by Hurricane Sandy. The Olympics were the third most popular event, followed by the SOPA Debate and the Costa Concordia crash.

Apple's iPad 3 was the most popular consumer electronics search, followed by the Samsung Galaxy S3, the iPad Mini, the Nexus 7 and the Galaxy Note 2.

While the release of the annual report provides an interesting look at the traffic patterns of users, the report also sheds light on the browsing habits of users and possible danger spots. Botnet operators and malware distributors often target high-trending search terms and news events when creating attack sites.

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Shaun Nichols

Shaun Nichols is the US correspondent for He has been with the company since 2006, originally joining as a news intern at the site's San Francisco offices.

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