Kiwis top Google searches revealed

21:32, Dec 12 2012
1. Valerie Adams
1. Valerie Adams
2. Kimbra
2. Kimbra
3. Sarah Walker
3. Sarah Walker
4. Margaret Mahy
4. Margaret Mahy
5. Mahe Drysdale
5. Mahe Drysdale
6. Nick Willis
6. Nick Willis
7. Lisa Carrington
7. Lisa Carrington
8. Mark Todd
8. Mark Todd
9. Jock Hobbs
9. Jock Hobbs
10. Martin Henderson
10. Martin Henderson

From One Direction to the Olympics, Korean pop music to life's big questions, Google's top-trending searches show what was on the minds of Kiwi internet users this year.

The web giant's annual Zeitgeist list, published yesterday, reveals which terms had the largest increase in search volume over the year.

The top-trending search term on was "Olympics", followed by "Volvo Ocean Race" and "One Direction". Other top 10 searches included "Hurricane Sandy", "Pinterest", and "Gangnam Style".

Google spokeswoman Annie Baxter said the Zeitgeist list, named after the German word for spirit of the times, was "a really good indicator of what is on people's consciousness".

"It was a year in which big international events caught our attention, but we also turned to the web to better understand local issues, from the Tongariro eruption to the Marmite shortage to the changing Give Way rules."

New Zealand shared several top-trending searches with Australia, including the Olympics, British and Irish boy band One Direction, and Korean popstar Psy.


The Kim Dotcom saga was closely followed online, appearing as No 1 on the news events list.

The saga of Kiwi shotputter Valerie Adams and her Belarus opponent Nadzeya Ostapchuk, who beat her at the Olympics before being disqualified for taking banned drugs, was also high on the list, with the search term "Belarus" coming in at No 4, one place behind New Zealand's unique view of the Transit of Venus.

The deaths of author Margaret Mahy and rugby legend Jock Hobbs were ranked six and seven.

Mahy also appeared on the list of most-searched New Zealanders, after Adams, pop singer Kimbra and Olympic BMX rider Sarah Walker.

Adams was the only New Zealander to make the list of top-trending people, alongside fellow Olympian Usain Bolt, and disgraced Tour de France cyclist Lance Armstrong.

The most-searched people were singer Whitney Houston, who died in February, Australian X-Factor singer Reece Mastin, and actor Morgan Freeman, who did not die, despite many online rumours.

Celebrities were not the only things on people's minds, however. Many of the searches were "how to" questions, including "how to love". Students looked for tips on how to study, which was No 3 on the list, and how to plait, as the hair trend gained popularity.

The technologically challenged asked how to screenshot, download and blog. They also wanted to know what photo-sharing site Instagram and music-streaming service Spotify were.

Other questions were how to "poke" - a Facebook function that allows the user to get the attention of a Facebook friend - and how to geocache - a GPS-based treasure hunt game.

As the Twitter hashtag "#yolo" grew in popularity, so did the searches to find out what it meant. It is an acronym for "you only live once".

Hipsters hoping to update their look searched for the definition of "swag" or "swagger", to find it was a person with a very confident and arrogant gait or manner.

But the "what is" questions were dominated by more serious issues. The No 1 question was "what is Sopa" - the Stop Online Piracy Act, followed by "what is scientology", "what is fracking", and "what is Lent".



1. Kim Dotcom

2. Tongariro

3. Transit of Venus

4. Belarus

5. Marmite

6. Margaret Mahy

7. Jock Hobbs

8. White Island

9. Give-way rules

10. Sophie Pascoe


1. Sopa (Stop Online Piracy Act)

2. Kony (campaign to stop Ugandan militia leader Joseph Kony)

3. Yolo (acronym for "you only live once")

4. Scientology 5. Fracking (natural gas drilling)

6. Instagram (a photo-sharing social media site)

7. Lent (the pre-Easter fasting period)

8. Swag/swagger (slang term for a person with a confident and arrogant gait or manner)

9. Spotify (a free music streaming service)

10. Quorn (brand of imitation meat in the United Kingdom)


1. Olympics

2. Volvo Ocean Race

3. One Direction (boy band, above)

4. Kizi (an all-ages online gaming website)

5. Whitney Houston (singer, died in February)

6. Gangnam Style (Psy's pop video)

7. Pinterest (a virtual pinboard to collect and display items found on the internet)

8. Diablo 3 (a video game)

9. Hurricane Sandy

10. 9GAG (image-based social media website)


1.  Screenshot

2. Love     

3. Study

4. Geocache (a GPS treasure hunt game)

5. Shuffle (as in pop band LMFAO’s video)

6. Download

7. Plait

8. Poke (a Facebook function used to get the attention of another Facebook friend)

9. Wallpaper (your home)

10. Blog


1. Valerie Adams

2. Kimbra (singer)

3. Sarah Walker (Olympic BMX rider)

4. Margaret Mahy (author, died in July)

5. Mahe Drysdale (Olympic rowing champion)

6. Nick Willis (Olympic runner)

7. Lisa Carrington (Olympic canoeing champion)

8. Mark Todd (Olympic equestrian)

9. Jock Hobbs (ex-All Black, died in March)

10. Martin Henderson (Kiwi actor, fleetingly dated Demi Moore)


1. Whitney Houston (singer, died in February)

2. Reece Mastin (Australian teen idol)

3. Morgan Freeman (actor)

4. Usain Bolt (Olympic sprint champion)

5. Michael Clarke Duncan (actor, died in September)

6. Valerie Adams (Olympic shotput champion)

7. Jeremy Lin (basketball star)

8. Tom Daly (Olympic diver)

9. Joseph Kony (Ugandan cult leader)

10. Lance Armstrong (disgraced cyclist)

The Dominion Post