The top tech, trends and people: Google’s 2012 Zeitgeist list

Bing and Yahoo have already released their top search terms for 2012, but the world’s biggest search engine’s results are really the ones to watch out for.

Now Google has unveiled its latest Zeitgeist list, showing the most searched for terms in the UK – the US list is still to come.

And, like every year, it’s a fascinating peek into the nation’s search history, showing what subjects have captured the imagination during the past 12 months.

In tech terms, Yahoo’s list showed the most searched for gizmo was Amazon’s Kindle e-reader. But, in Google’s countdown, American titan Apple definitely has the edge.

Gadget of the year, in Google searches at least, was Apple’s new iPad, which was released at Easter. Then came the iPad mini, Samsung’s Galaxy S3 and the iPhone 4S.

But, it’s clearly not all about the gadgets. Google’s list, called the Zeitgeist because it means spirit of the age, or spirit of the time, also reveals the celebrities, news terms and entertainment options we’ve been looking for.

Surprising, despite being the world’s most photographed woman and despite those now infamous topless photographs, the Duchess of Cambridge only makes it to number two in the top trending people section, with the late Whitney Houston taking the top spot.

Other’s making the top five are X Factor judges Gary Barlow and Tulisa – in Tulisa’s case the rating is surely down in large part to the sex tape released by an ex boyfriend.

Jessica Ennis makes it into the number five slot after her outstanding performance at the London Olympics which saw her bring home heptathlon gold.

Also making the trending search list this year are footballer Fabrice Muamba who was forced to retire from the sport in March after an on-pitch heart attack, Prince Harry whose profile was raised by naked antics in Las Vegas and the world’s fastest man Usain Bolt.

In entertainment trends, the nation was desperate for information and tickets for Skyfall, the latest James Bond film. While you might think it would be one of the big soaps or Saturday night shows, children’s television programme Mike the Knight actually led the list of most-searched for TV and the unlikely hit Gangnam Style took the top spot for number one trending song.

The UK also turned to Google for some of the answers to life’s big questions. And, it seems we are a nation of romantics as the top ‘what is?’ search term was ‘what is love?’ In ‘how to’ searches, we also asked ‘how to kiss?’ and ‘how to flirt?’

We also asked Google for advice on some of those confusing tech terms and for information about certain health conditions, looking for help on ‘what is iCloud?’, ‘what is 3G?’, ‘what is instagram?’ and ‘what is autism?’.

Overall, the top 10 search trends were:

  1. Euro 2012
  2. Olympic tickets
  3. Whitney Houston
  4. Kate Middleton
  5. April Jones
  6. Netflix
  7. Natwest online
  8. iPad 3
  9. Gary Barlow
  10. Gangnam Style