Bing has already revealed what people were searching for in 2012. Google’s 2012 zeitgeist will undoubtedly be revealed shortly.
But question and answer site Ask.com‘s year-end review of what was big and popular in 2012 focused, appropriately, on the questions people asked over the past year.
Sure, Gangnam Style is huge … but what the heck is it, actually? And Lance Armstrong has been semi-officially disgraced … but did he actually take performance-enhancing drugs? Mitt Romney said something about 47 percent of us … but what, exactly?
“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.
The result is a fascinating insight into not just what people are searching for, but why. And what, specifically, they want to know about a person, event, or concept.
Here are Ask’s top news search terms for 2012:
- 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?
Political queries were, understandably, dominated by the 2012 U.S. presidential election. However, social issues such as rape and gay marriage entered the list, as did Europe and the Greece-inspired Euro crisis that wasn’t. Oh, and Clint Eastwood talking to a chair apparently confused a LOT of people.
- 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?
Celeb questions were inevitably popular, including Prince Harry’s didn’t-stay-in-Vegas indiscretions and the globe-shaking controversy over when Snooki’s baby would be born. People wanted to know what size diamond Brangelina gave to itself, and whether, in fact, young Olympic greek-god-even-if-he-is-American Ryan Lochte had a girlfriend.
- 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?
For the answers, of course, you’ll have to check the site. All except one: Gangnam style is, in fact, just old-fashioned fake pony riding.
Without, of course, the fake pony.
Here’s a video flipbook Ask put together of the top queries of 2012:
VentureBeat is studying social media marketing
, and we’ll share the data with you.