"Elections" top Yahoo searches in 2012, iPhone 5 was #2

Our 2012 obsessions were 50 Shades of Grey, Call Me Maybe and, of course, Gangnam Style

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
December 3, 2012
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As 2012 winds down, the process of looking back on the year that was, the highs and the lows, seems to be taking place already, especially the online search engines. Fresh on the heels of Bing and, Yahoo has also come out with its list of the top search terms of the past year, as well the top “obsessions,” of 2012

The list is a familiar mix of news stories, celebrities and gadgets that we have come to expect.

Top searches of the year

2012 was a bit on an anomaly when it came to what people were looking for. As Yahoo noted, it has been compiling its list of most searched terms for 12 years, and only three times has a major news event came out on top: the death of Michael Jackson in 2009, the BP oil spill in 2010 and this year, when half billion people searched for “elections.”

Not only that, but the election was represented twice on the list, with the term “political polls” at number 8, and this was despite the oversaturation that most people felt toward the end of the election season.

“The United States is sometimes criticized for its citizens' apparent lack of interest in politics, at least beyond the celebrity angle. But ‘elections’ was this year's most-searched term onYahoo!, even though the long campaign probably made a lot of people weary towards the end,” Yahoo said.

The election not the only big news event from the year that got people searching: “Olympics” came in at number 7.

The “iPhone,” which topped the list of biggest news stories, and tech terms, on Bing’s list this year, came in big on Yahoo also, landing right behind "elections" for the number 2 position on the list. It was the only gadget, and tech story, to make the top 10.

Even with people seeking out knowledge about the big, important and historical events that took place in 2012, the majority of the list was, of course, filled with celebrities.

Kim Kardashian was the top searched for person, as she was on the Bing list as well, and the number 3 searched term overall. Kardashian, Yahoo said, has been “a staple since 2009” and this year “reached the height of her online popularity," after coming in second to Casey Anthony last year.

The other most searched for people were supermodel Kate Upton at number 4, Kate Middleton at number 5, Whitney Houston at number 6, Lindsay Lohan at number 9 and Jennifer Lopez at number 10.


Yahoo also released a separate list of “obsessions,” or viral sensations of the year.

Topping that list were two familiar terms: iPhone 5 and political polls, led by guru Nate Silver.

“In a year marked by a long, grueling, often volatile presidential campaign, it's understandable that Americans became obsessed with the election and what seemed like an endless string of political polls that went with it,” Yahoo said.

"Just how obsessed? Consider that on election night, Nate Silver, the New York Times polling guru, was trending on Twitter and, for a fleeting moment, received more searches on Yahoo! than either of the presidential candidates.”

The other viral sensations that made the list: mega millions, the blockbuster hit movie The Hunger Games, reality TV star Honey Boo Boo, erotic “mommy porn” novel Fifty Shades of Grey, British boy band One Direction, Carly Rae Jepsen’s way too catchy hit song Call Me Maybe, Gangnam Style (obviously!) and the Titanic, which marked the 100th anniversary of its sinking in April.

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