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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

December 12, 2012 at 10:06 AM

Google reveals top searches in 2012: Celebs, King Tut

Google today released its annual list of the year’s top searches. It’s a massive data dump that shows the pipsqueaks at Bing and Yahoo how it’s done when you’ve got 1.2 trillion searches from which to harvest factoids.


Google released 125 pages of top searches by country and category, including specialized searches such as the most searched for restaurants on its Zagat service.

It’s amazing to peruse what the dominant search engine reveals about interests around the world.

Who knew that KFC is the most-searched for food in China, that Canadians are fascinated by Pinterest, and that America’s most-searched for recipes include “tzatziki sauce,” “coleslaw dressing” and “slutty brownies“? Newspaper assignment editors, start your engines.

Still, Google declined to provide the overall “most searched” terms, making direct comparisons with Bing and Yahoo difficult.

Instead, Google mostly offered the top trending searches – showing topics that had the highest sustained amount of traffic in 2012 versus 2011.

Here are Google’s top trending searches in 2012:

1. Whitney Houston

2. Gangnam Style

3. Hurricane Sandy

4. iPad 3

5. Diablo 3

6. Kate Middleton

7. Olympics 2012

8. Amanda Todd

9. Michael Clarke Duncan

10. BBB12

Yahoo released its zeitgeist list on Dec. 2. Here are the top 10 searches on Yahoo in 2012:

1. election

2. iphone 5

3. kim kardashian

4. kate upton

5. kate middleton

6. whitney houston

7. olympics

8. political polls

9. lindsay lohan

10. jennifer lopez

Bing released its zeitgeist list on Nov. 27. Like Google, it’s release did not include overall top search terms and instead provided details for various search categories. Here are the top 10 news stories on Bing in 2012 – not including December:

1. iPhone 5

2. 2012 Elections

3. 2012 Olympics

4. Hurricane Sandy

5. Honey Boo Boo Reality Show

6. Gangnam Style Dance

7. KONY 2012

8. Academy Awards

9. Kindle Fire HD

10. Facebook IPO

Google also broke out local searches for some markets, including Seattle. Here are the top terms searched for locally:

1. King Tut Seattle

2. SEA-TAC Airport

3. Election Results

4. Whooping Cough

5. Seattle Seahawks

6. Costco

7. Paleo Diet


9. Super Bowl 2012

10. Mother’s Day 2012

Here are the most searched for restaurants in 2012 on Zagat, which Google now owns:

1. El Gaucho

2. Purple Cafe and Wine Bar

3. Cafe Juanita

4. Serious Pie Restaurant

5. Boat Street Cafe

6. The Crab Pot

7. The Herbfarm

8. Daniel’s Broiler

9. Seastar Restaurant and Raw Bar

10. Paseo Restaurant

No Seattle restaurants made the top 10 nationally, a list topped by Nobu and dominated by New York restaurants, but Issaquah-based Costco was the “most searched food company.”

Seattle also was the ninth most searched city in Google Maps – San Francisco was first – and Seattle-based Starbucks was the fifth most searched for “local place” in Google Maps; “hotel” was first.

More disconcerting are the top trending U.S. health issue searches on Google last year:

1. Hemorrhoid

2. Gastroesophageal Reflex Disease

3. Sexually Transmitted Disease

4. Diaper Rash

5. Diarrhea

6. Urinary Tract Infection

7. Miscarriage

8. Heartburn

9. Celiac Disease

10. PTSD



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