Top 2012 Wikipedia searches from around the globe

Facebook, Google, The Avengers, One Direction, Hunger Games make the list

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
December 28, 2012
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/2c9a

Everyone loves the year end top 10 lists. Yahoo, Ask.com, BingGoogle, Facebook and Twitter have all put out their lists compiling the top searches on their sites for 2012. We even love to do them here! One website that doesn't put together its own list is Wikipedia.

While the online encyclopedia does not cultivate its own list of the most popular searches of the year, that does not mean that the information is not available for those who want to do it themselves. Swedish software engineer Johan Gunnarsson took it upon himself to analyze Wikipedia's log files in order to create lists of the top 10 searches on Wikipedia for 70 different languages. 

On the English language Wikipedia, Facebook topped the list with over 32 million views. Since the English language version of Wikipedia was by far the most used, Facebook was actually the most searched for term in any language this year.

Wiki and Google also made the top 10, though Google wound up with half the number of views as Facebook.

Pop culture dominated the top 10, with One Direction, The Avengers, Fifty Shades of Grey, The Dark Knight Rises and the Hunger Games taking up half the list.

I was a little surprised that Deaths in 2012 came in so high on the list at number 3, but then I remember just how many people had died this year including Whitney Houston, Andy Griffith, Dick Clark, Adam Yauch, Larry Hagman, Nora Ephron and Mike Wallace. Geez, let's hope that some celebrites can make it through 2013!

What they were searching for around the globe

While it is cool to see what we were looking at, its even more fascinating to see the results from around the world and to look into how different cultures operate. (Hint: a lot of countries really liked viewing pages about themselves).

The Japanese language Wikipedia, for example, was the second most popular version, with the top search getting 18 million viewes. So what did people in Japan decide to look at it?

Well... to put this delicately... its a list of adult movie stars, followed by two female pop bands, AKB48 and Momoiro Clover Z. 

Staying in Asia, the most viewed page in the Chinese version was for Baidu, a Chinese search engine, and then Favicon, short for Favorite icon, or a bookmark icon. 

Over in Europe, they apparently love American television. The top search in Italy was Grey's Anatomy, with Gossip Girl and The Vampire Diaries also making the list, while Germany's list included How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, Two and Half Men and Game of Thrones. Even more oddly, the top viewed page in the German language was cul-de-sacs.

In the French language version, it was the Ilex crenata, or Japanese holly, that topped the list, along with searches for France and Facebook.

Moving over into the Middle East, the most viewed page on the the Arabic Wikipedia was for Egypt, followed by Muhammad Ali Pasha, a commander of the Ottoman empire in the 1800s who became the ruler of Egypt. On the Hebrew Wikipedia, the top search was for Israel, followed by the United States of America.

On the Persian Wikipedia, the top page was for the Iranian capital of Tehran, and then for Iran itself.

That is just a small sampling of the data compiled by Gunnarsson. You can see the rest here.

(Image source: http://micronational.org)

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