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Google reveals 2012’s top search terms with iPad and Netflix ranking high

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Google has announced its annual Zeitgeist list of top search terms from 2012 with the iPad and Netflix ranking highly alongside the likes of Kate Middleton and the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The top searches are inevitably dominated by the high-profile celebrities and major sports events that also get splashed across newspaper front pages, but the UK-specific list is broken down into various sub-categories and shows what else has been on the nation’s collective minds.

Google says that the third generation Apple iPad 3, released in the spring, was 2012’s most searched-for gadget, followed by the iPad mini, the Samsung Galaxy S3 and then the iPhone 4S (showing that products released later in the year, such as the iPhone 5, don’t always accumulate enough searches to put them high on the list by December).

Whitney Houston, who died in February, was Google’s most searched-for person in 2012, followed by Kate Middleton (who was the top trending Briton, again for fairly obvious news-related reasons during the year).

In overall search terms, 'Euro 2012' came just ahead of ‘Olympic tickets’. Some other terms may seem mundane, such as 'Natwest online' at number seven. However, the bank suffered a major technical failure in the summer that lasted for days, which would explain its high ranking.

Other notable entries in the UK summary include Netflix, at number six in the overall top 10. The popular culture lists generally match the charts elsewhere: Gangnam Style was the top trending song, and Skyfall the biggest film, though CBeebies’ Mike the Knight seems like a strange entry at the top of the TV show list.

The ‘how to’ and ‘what is’ searches are often the most revealing. In the ‘how to’ list, ‘hack’ is in ninth place, while ‘iCloud’ is the number two ‘what is’ query, beaten only by the eternal question ‘what is love?’. Google will probably find you a better answer for iCloud. Oddly, ‘what is 3G’ is third on that list. That’s right, 3G not 4G, which suggests that the country at large has yet to get to grips with fairly long-established wireless broadband technology.

Are you surprised by any of the entries on Google’s Zeitgeist lists or does it accurately reflect your interests and obsessions? Discuss it on the Trusted Reviews Twitter and Facebook feeds or via the comments boxes below.

Next: Read our Netflix vs Lovefilm comparison

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