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Digital news

Most popular Google searches of 2013

18 Dec 2013 12:10
Google has released its annual Year-End Zeitgeist, a look at 2013 through the collective eyes of the world on the web, offering a unique perspective on the year's major events and hottest trends based on searches conducted in South Africa. (video)

© motorradcbr - Fotolia.com
This year marks Google's most global Zeitgeist to date - with 1,000+ top 10 lists across categories like Trending People, Most-Searched Events and Top Trending Searches from 72 countries, including South Africa.
Julie Taylor, head of Communications for Google Sub-Saharan Africa, says: "Every day, around the world and across South Africa, we search. We want to find out more about people who are making an impact on the world, to learn about events that are making headlines, or just to settle a dinner table dispute between friends. In our annual Year-End Zeitgeist, we reflect on the people, places, and moments that captured the world's attention throughout the year."

South Africa's biggest moments

South African hero, Nelson Mandela, comes in at number one this year after the news of his death that shook not only South Africa, but the world. Other news headlines that have tugged at the heart strings and voices of many South Africans over the year: the court appearance of Oscar Pistorius and death of Vuyo Mbuli feature prominently in this year's lists. Melissa Bachman raised many eyebrows after her South African hunting experience, resulting in a roar of heated social media debates around the topic - she comes in fourth to Margaret Thatcher, Kim Kardashian's baby (named North West) and South African model, Reeva Steenkamp.

When it comes to 'fads', it seems everyone has exploded into the 'harlem shake' on a dance floor at some stage in 2013, which shimmies its way to the "top fad" spot. Close behind it in popularity is 'twerking' - made famous by Miley Cyrus and now added to the English language by the Oxford online dictionary. Who have South Africans been listening to the most while enjoying these moves? Swedish House Mafia is most popular this year, with South African artist, Vuyo Mokoena also grabbing the attention of listeners.

Here's a look at just a few of Google's top charts of 2013, as searched for by South Africans. (You can find more extensive lists below and on the Zeitgeist site).

More top lists:

Top trending men:
  1. Nelson Mandela
  2. Oscar Pistorius
  3. Paul Walker
  4. Vuyo Mbuli
  5. Cory Monteith
  6. Baby Jake Matlala
  7. Burry Stander
  8. Lance Armstrong
  9. Baba Jukwa
  10. Charlie Hunnam
  11. Khuli Chana
  12. Vuyo Mokoena
Top trending women:
  1. Reeva Steenkamp
  2. Kim Kardashian Baby
  3. Margaret Thatcher
  4. Melissa Bachman
  5. Savita Mbuli
  6. Amanda Bynes
  7. Dakota Johnson
  8. Nigella Lawson
  9. Celine Dion
  10. Anene Booysen
Top trending fads:
  1. Harlem Shake
  2. Twerking
  3. Gangman Style
  4. Wrecking Ball
  5. Minions

Biggest global moments

As we get ready to turn the page to 2014, Google invites you to take a global journey through the biggest moments from the past 12 months in its Year in Review video:

It's perhaps unsurprising that the #1 trending search of 2013 was an international symbol of strength and peace, Nelson Mandela. Global search interest in the former President of South Africa was already high this year, and after his passing, people from around the world turned to Google to learn more about Madiba and his legacy. Tragedies like the Boston Marathon bombings, the sixth trending term globally, and Typhoon Haiyan, #2 on Google's global events list, also captured the world's attention.

2013 also had moments that made us move. People uploaded more than 1.7 million video versions of the Harlem Shake to YouTube, propelling it to the #5 spot on Google's global list; it was also the second most trending video on YouTube.

Here's a full look at Google's top 10 global trending searches of 2013:

You can also explore more global trends this year-directly from Google's Zeitgeist homepage. Check out the top 100 trending searches of 2013, and simply click one to dig deeper on Google Trends. Or if you'd rather be nostalgic, you can take a look back at each year's Zeitgeist from 2001 onwards.

Finally, Google has made an interactive 3D global map showcasing the top search trends of 2013 by day in cities around the world. You can easily spin the globe, select a city and explore the topics that brought people to search on any day of the year-from local sports games to international news stories.
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