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December 13, 2012

Whitney Houston Most-Searched Person, Trend of 2012

February was a busy month for Google Search.

The death of Whitney Houston Feb. 11 sparked 2012’s biggest hike in U.S. search traffic, beating out Hurricane Sandy and last month’s presidential election, which placed second and third respectively on Google’s year-end Zeitgeist report.

Whitney Houston topped both the trending and the people searches for 2012.

Google describes “trending” queries as the searches that had the highest amount of traffic over a sustained period in 2012 compared to 2011. The “most searched” queries are the most popular terms for 2012—ranked in order of the queries with the largest volume of searches.

Hurricane Sandy and the presidential election placed first and second respectively on the trending events list.

While some items on the most-searched lists are understandable: Whitney Houston, Hurricane Sandy, the election and the 2012 Olympics (which ranked sixth), some items truly are head-scratchers.

Gangnam Style, for instance, placed eighth on the trending searches list. Seriously? Gangnam Style is a K-pop (Korean pop) single by South Korean musician PSY.

How does a pop song rate higher than Kony 2012, for instance? Kony 2012 is a short film released in March to promote the charity’s “Stop Kony” movement to make Ugandan cult and militia leader Joseph Kony, an indicted war criminal and International Criminal Court fugitive known internationally in the hopes he will be arrested by the end of 2012.

The fact that searches for the movie Hunger Games (which placed fourth) and basketball player Jeremy Lin (fifth) were more interesting to the masses than the tragic story of bullying-victim Amanda Todd also is rather sad. The Canadian teen hung herself after posting a video to YouTube in which she used flash cards to explain how she was blackmailed, bullied, and physically assaulted.

Michael Clarke Duncan, an American actor who died in September at the age of 55, also made the trending search list in the ninth slot.

Below is a list of the top searches of 2012.

United States Trending Searches 2012

Whitney Houston

Hurricane Sandy

Election 2012

Hunger Games

Jeremy Lin

Olympics 2012

Amanda Todd

Gangnam Style

Michael Clarke Duncan

Kony 2012

United States Trending Events 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Presidential Election

Super Bowl


UEFA Euro 2012

Kony Movement

SOPA Protest

Aurora Shooting

Trayvon Martin Case

Hurricane Isaac

United States Trending Athletes 2012

Jeremy Lin

Peyton Manning

Michael Phelps

Ryan Lochte

Tim Tebow

McKayla Maroney

Gabby Douglas

LoLo Jones

Dwight Howard

Sarah Burke

United States Trending People 2012

Whitney Houston

Jeremy Lin

Amanda Todd

Michael Clark Duncan

Kate Middleton

One Direction

Morgan Freeman

Peyton Manning

Joe Paterno

Paul Ryan

United States Most Searched Movies 2012

The Hunger Games


The Avengers

Magic Mike

The Dark Knight Rises


21 Jump Street

The Vow


Paranormal Activity 4

United States Most Searched Songs 2012

Boyfriend, Justin Bieber

Gangnam Style, PSY

Call Me Maybe, Carly Rae Jepsen

Somebody that I Used to Know, Gotye

Some Nights, Fun

Die Young, Ke$ha

Wide Awake, Katy Perry

As Long As You Love Me, Justin Bieber

Pop That, French Montana

Mercy, Kanye West

United States Trending TV Shows 2012

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo

The Voice

American Idol

Big Brother 14

X Factor

666 Park Avenue

Alcatraz TV Show

Dance Moms

The New Normal

Switched At Birth

United States Most Searched TV Shows 2012

American Idol

The Voice

Breaking Bad

Game of Thrones


Big Bang Theory

Pretty Little Liars

The Office


How I Met Your Mother

United States Most Searched Celebrity Breakups 2012

Justin Bieber & Selena Gomez

Heidi Klum & Seal

Tom Cruise & Katie Holmes

Robert Pattinson & Kristen Stewart

Johnny Depp & Vanessa Paradis

Peter Facinelli and Jennie Garth

Amy Poehler & Will Arnett

Adam Levine & Anne Vyalitsyna

Avril Lavigne & Brody Jenner

Courtney Robertson & Ben Flajnik

United States Trending “What Is” Searches 2012

What is SOPA?

What is Scientology?

What is Kony?

What is Yolo?

What is Instagram?

What is Pinterest?

What is Lent?

What is Obamacare?

What is iCloud?

What is Planking?