It’s been a big year for over-hyped news stories in the UK. Kate Middleton’s pregnancy, the chief whip calling the police plebs, the usual guff around X Factor and footballers refusing to shake hands, to name but a few.

But which stories have really caught the nation’s imagination? 

Well wonder no more, as Google has come to the rescue with its search zeitgeist for 2012.

The stats below reveal the UK’s top trending search topics, the most popular ‘What is…’ and ‘How to...’ queries and the most searched-for individuals.

So, here’s what you’ve all been searching for this year...

Top trending searches

1. Euro 2012  

2. Olympic tickets      

3. Whitney Houston   

4. Kate Middleton       

5. April Jones 

6. Netflix         

7. NatWest online       

8. iPad 3         

9. Gary Barlow           

10. Gangnam Style

Top searches for ‘How to?’

1. Draw

2. Kiss

3. Make

4. Crochet

5. Knit

6. Meditate

7. Flirt

8. Sing

9. Hack

10. Pronounce

Top searches for ‘What is?’

1. Love

2. iCloud

3. 3G

4. Scientology

5. Instagram

6. Autism

7. Diabetes

8. Yolo

9. Illuminati

10. MS

Most searched British Olympians

1. Andy Murray

2. Tom Daley

3. Jessica Ennis

4. Mo Farah

5. Victoria Pendleton

6. Bradley Wiggins

7. Chris Hoy

8. Rebecca Adlington

9. Laura Trott

10. Louis Smith

Trending politicians

1. Jeremy Hunt

2. Boris Johnson

3. Justine Greening

4. Alex Salmond

5. Michael Gove

6. George Osborne

7. Louise Mensch

8. Nadine Dorries

9. Keith Vaz

10. Ed Vaizey

Trending songs

1. Gangnam Style

2. Call Me Maybe

3. Blow Me One Last Kiss

4. Beneath Your Beautiful

5. The Official Olympic Song (Survival by Muse)

6. Skyfall

7. Somebody That I Used To Know

8. We Are Young

9. Too Close

10. 212

Most searched Local Places in Google Maps

1. Hotel

2. Restaurant             

3. Pubs

4. Camping        

5. Tesco

6. Parking          

7. Train station            

8. Premier Inn           

9. Supermarket  

10. B&B

David Moth

Published 11 December, 2012 by David Moth

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn

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Comments (9)

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David Iwanow

David Iwanow, SEO Product Manager at

Well the top local search term explains why Google is focusing on their hotel finder, but I guess "eat" and "drink" will be the their next Google search integrations.

Some of those items people are searching for "what is..." is a little alarming that people don't know about Diabetes and feel sorry for Apple's UK marketing team... iCloud?

over 5 years ago

David Moth

David Moth, Managing Editor at Barclaycard

@David, it's also interesting to see NatWest in the top 10 search trends, presumably due to its admin errors earlier in the year. The PR team has a bit of a job on its hands!

over 5 years ago

Emma North

Emma North, Digital Marketing Executive at Koozai

Of the Top 10 trending searches at the top of this post, I'm most surprised to see Gary Barlow, especially above Gangnam Style; he isn't the only one to receive an OBE this year! I also agree with David; it is surprising to see Natwest up there. Less surprised at the others.

These sort of statistics always make interesting reading though, great post David, thanks!

over 5 years ago


Joe Lineker

Interesting to see Bradley Wiggins down in sixth place in the most searched British Olympians.

I would have thought after his Tour de France success and popularity for Sports Personality of the Year he would have been higher.

Definitely shows the potential in traffic for keeping your website up to date with current affairs (where possible of course).

over 5 years ago



The presence of Nat West in the top 10 is interesting. Could it mean that during their much publicised outage in July, customers trusted Google to tell them what was going on more than their bank?

over 5 years ago


Eddie Prentice, Marketer & Publisher at Eddie Prentice

Andy our number 1 Olympian? Bradley only at 6! Is this an indication for SPOTY?

over 5 years ago


Phil Reed

Yes, interesting post. I was also intrigued by the appearance of NatWest in the top 10. They're not the only financial institution (or brand) to have had major reputation problems this year, but clearly the consumer impact was greater than those others. And Gary Barlow in the top 10? Baffling!

over 5 years ago


Nick Gregory

How can David Cameron not be in the top 10 trending politicians? That must be wrong.

over 5 years ago


Dave Barnes

BBC SPOTY with Andy Murry trending to the top. Are the bookies taking this seriously now? Might be time to go out and put a £1 on the boy from Dunblane.

over 5 years ago

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