Thanks to Bing, we already know what people were searching for this year. Just putting a term into Bing, or Google, though, does not tell the full story. Sure, people searched for the iPhone 5 and Kim Kardashian, but why? What did they really want to know? What specific information were they looking for?
For that information we can turn to Ask.com, the question and answer website, which has complied the most popular and notable questions asked by its 100 million users in 2012. In addition to compiling the most popular questions, Ask also partnered with Harris Interactive to conduct a “2012: What's on America's Mind?” survey of 2,000 adults in November, in order to go deeper into what was behind what Americans were asking.
"With nearly half of the queries on Ask.com in the form of a full question, we get a snapshot of not only what captured consumers' attention, but also what piqued their curiosity," Valerie Combs, vice president of communications for Ask.com, said in a statement. "This year, we partnered with Harris to dig even deeper and unearth how the nation really feels about 2012's most captivating headlines."
The most popular questions of 2012
So what was the top question of 2012? What was the one thing that people wanted to know more than anything else?
"Will Rob and Kristen get back together?" in reference to Kristen Stewart cheating on her boyfriend, and Twilight co-star, Robert Pattinson with her married Snow White and the Huntsman director Rupert Sanders.
Yes, that was what was on America’s mind in 2012, the year of the London Olympics and the Presidential election. Sure it was a juicy piece of gossip, if you care about that kind of thing, but I can think of a hundred more pressing topics to ask about on any given day, can’t you?
Here is what else was America was thinking about this year:
Top celebrity search terms and questions:
- Kristen Stewart. Will Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart get back together?
- Katie Holmes. Was Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise's marriage fake?
- Psy – Gangnam Style. What does Gangnam Style mean?
- Snooki. When is Snooki's baby due?
- Prince Harry. What will happen to Prince Harry because of the nude pictures?
- Brad Pitt. How big is Angelina's engagement ring?
- Carly Rae Jepsen. What is the best Call Me Maybe parody?
- Jessica Biel. When are Justin and Jessica getting married?
- Miley Cyrus. Why did Miley Cyrus cut her hair?
- Ryan Lochte. Does Ryan Lochte have a girlfriend?
According to the survey, despite being asked about the most, Kristen Stewart is far from the most popular celebrity. That would be Kate Middleton, with 47% putting her on top. She was followed by Brad Pitt, with 41%, Angelina Jolie, with 29%, Tom Cruise, with 37% and Katie Holmes, with 36%. Only 20% put Kristen Stewart at the top.
Turns out, if the question people are asking about you is about you having an affair with a married man, then they probably don’t really like you very much.
Top news search terms and questions:
- 2012 Olympics. How many medals did the US gymnastics team win?
- Hurricane Sandy. What is the damage from Hurricane Sandy?
- Black Knight shooting. What happened at the Colorado shooting?
- Jerry Sandusky. What is Jerry Sandusky's sentence?
- iPhone 5. When will the iPhone 5 be released?
- Facebook IPO. When is the Facebook IPO?
- Lance Armstrong. Did Lance Armstrong take drugs?
- Whitney Houston. How did Whitney Houston die?
- Costa Concordia. How did the Costa Concordia sink?
- Trayvon Martin. Why was Trayvon Martin Shot?
The survey found that Americans were pretty evenly divided on Lance Armstrong, with 38% supporting the decision to take away his Tour de France tiles, and 39% not supporting it.
The iPhone 5 was once again found to be a popular search term, but when asked how they really felt about it, nearly half said that the iPhone 5 was pretty much the exact same thing as the previous versions of the device.
People were also talking about the Facebook IPO, and 45% of them said that they did not think that the social network’s stock was a good buy.
When asked what the most shocking headline of 2012 was 36% said the Aurora, Colorado shooting. Hurricane Sandy was cited by 24% and the shooting of Trayvon Martin got only 7%.
Top political searches and questions from Ask.com include:
- Presidential race. Who will win the Presidential race?
- Democratic National Convention. When is Clinton speaking at the DNC?
- Mitt Romney. What did Mitt Romney say about 47 percent?
- Republican National Convention. Why did Clint Eastwood talk to a chair in his speech?
- Chick-Fil-A. What did the CEO of Chick-Fil-A say about gay marriage?
- Todd Akin. What did Todd Akin say about legitimate rape?
- Gay marriage. Where is gay marriage legal?
- Obamacare. What is Obamacare?
- Greece bankruptcy. Is Greece bringing down the Euro?
- John Edwards. Was John Edwards found guilty?
The survey found that, surprise!, 59% of Americans do not like being inundated with their friends' political views on Facebook.
Here is a video flipbook put together by Ask.com to capture this year's most memorable moments: