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Whitney Houston accepts an award at the Warner Theatre during the 2010 BET Hip Hop Honors in Washington. Houston was the "top trending" search of the year, according to Google Inc. People around the globe searched en masse for news about the superstar singer's sad, accidental drowning.

Associated Press/January 2010

South Korean rapper PSY, who sings the popular "Gangnam Style" song, answers reporters' question during a news conference in Seoul, South Korea. In Google's 12th annual roundup of trending searches, PSY's "Gangnam Style" music video trotted into second spot in 2012, a testament to his self-deprecating giddy-up dance move.

Associated Press/September 2012

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Robert Connolly, left, embraces his wife, Laura, as they survey the remains of the home owned by her parents that burned to the ground in the Breezy Point section of New York, during Superstorm Sandy. In Google's 12th annual roundup of trending searches, Superstorm Sandy, the damaging storm that knocked out power and flooded parts of the East Coast in the midst of a U.S. presidential campaign, was third.

Associated Press/October 2012

Baek Sung-min, 23, reacts after purchasing a new iPad at an Apple store in Seoul, South Korea. In Google's 12th annual roundup of global trending searches, the iPad 3 was ranked fourth.

Associated Press/April 2012

This video game image released by Activision Blizzard Inc., shows gameplay from "Diablo III." In Google's 12th annual roundup of global trending searches, the epic fantasy role-playing game was ranked fifth.

Associated Press file photo

Britain's Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, attends a reception as she visits Bacon's College in London. In Google's 12th annual roundup of global trending searches, Kate Middleton was ranked sixth.

Associated Press/July 2012

Fireworks explode during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. In Google's 12th annual roundup of global trending searches, "Olympics 2012" was ranked at seventh.

Associated Press/July 2012

Candles are displayed in front of a picture of Amanda Todd during a memorial for her in Surrey, British Columbia. In Google's 12th annual roundup of global trending searches, "Amanda Todd" was ranked eighth.

Associated Press/October 2012

In this undated movie still provided by Twentieth Century Fox, the crime lord Kingpin, played by Michael Clarke Duncan, left, hires Bullseye, played by Colin Farrell, in a scene from the movie "Daredevil," based on a popular comic book published by Marvel. In Google's 12th annual roundup of global trending searches, "Michael Clarke Duncan" was ranked ninth.

Associated Press

Associated Press This undated image made available by Big Brother Brasil, shows the reality television show's logo. In Google's 12th annual roundup of global trending searches, "Big Brother Brasil" was ranked tenth.

Gallery updated: 12/12/2012 2:30 PM

About this Gallery

The world's attention wavered between the tragic and the silly in 2012, and along the way, Web surfers searched in huge numbers to find out about a royal princess, the latest iPad, and a record-breaking skydiver. Whitney Houston was the "top trending" search of the year, according to Google Inc.'s year-end "zeitgeist" report. Google's 12th annual roundup is "an in-depth look at the spirit of the times as seen through the billions of searches on Google over the past year," the company said in a blog post Wednesday.
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    • Whitney Houston accepts an award at the Warner Theatre during the 2010 BET Hip Hop Honors in Washington. Houston was the “top trending” search of the year, according to Google Inc. People around the globe searched en masse for news about the superstar singer’s sad, accidental drowning.
    • South Korean rapper PSY, who sings the popular “Gangnam Style” song, answers reporters’ question during a news conference in Seoul, South Korea. In Google’s 12th annual roundup of trending searches, PSY’s “Gangnam Style” music video trotted into second spot in 2012, a testament to his self-deprecating giddy-up dance move.
    • Robert Connolly, left, embraces his wife, Laura, as they survey the remains of the home owned by her parents that burned to the ground in the Breezy Point section of New York, during Superstorm Sandy. In Google’s 12th annual roundup of trending searches, Superstorm Sandy, the damaging storm that knocked out power and flooded parts of the East Coast in the midst of a U.S. presidential campaign, was third.
    • Baek Sung-min, 23, reacts after purchasing a new iPad at an Apple store in Seoul, South Korea. In Google’s 12th annual roundup of global trending searches, the iPad 3 was ranked fourth.
    • This video game image released by Activision Blizzard Inc., shows gameplay from “Diablo III.” In Google’s 12th annual roundup of global trending searches, the epic fantasy role-playing game was ranked fifth.
    • Britain’s Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, attends a reception as she visits Bacon’s College in London. In Google’s 12th annual roundup of global trending searches, Kate Middleton was ranked sixth.
    • Fireworks explode during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. In Google’s 12th annual roundup of global trending searches, “Olympics 2012” was ranked at seventh.
    • Candles are displayed in front of a picture of Amanda Todd during a memorial for her in Surrey, British Columbia. In Google’s 12th annual roundup of global trending searches, “Amanda Todd” was ranked eighth.
    • In this undated movie still provided by Twentieth Century Fox, the crime lord Kingpin, played by Michael Clarke Duncan, left, hires Bullseye, played by Colin Farrell, in a scene from the movie “Daredevil,” based on a popular comic book published by Marvel. In Google’s 12th annual roundup of global trending searches, “Michael Clarke Duncan” was ranked ninth.
    • Associated Press This undated image made available by Big Brother Brasil, shows the reality television show’s logo. In Google’s 12th annual roundup of global trending searches, “Big Brother Brasil” was ranked tenth.
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