5 Diablo 3
Number 5 on the list of world searches didn’t make it into the U.S. top 10. Techno geeks in other countries were busy searching for Diablo 3, a tactical action video game with a complex plot. Set in Sanctuary, a fantasy world first introduced in parts 1 and 2 of the game, the players use a mouse to direct their chosen character. After generating the highest number of pre-orders ever on Amazon, 4.7 million players worldwide logged into the game on its first day. By the end of 2012, marketer Activision Blizzard had sold 12 million copies.
4 iPad 3
It would have been a sad year if no technology made it into the top five, but the iPad didn’t disappoint. Launched in March 2012, it was on the market for a mere 221 days before being discontinued. It sold 3 million units in the first three days, based on the excitement generated by its new retina display and 4G capabilities. The enthusiasm among users fizzled out rapidly, however, once it was discovered to be incompatible with LTE networks outside North America and Canada.
3 Hurricane Sandy
Searches for Hurricane Sandy made it to third position globally and second position among U.S. users. The Category 3 hurricane that hit the northeastern U.S. in October 2012 generated the second highest costs of all storms in the history of the nation. Several companies found themselves in hot water for “newsjacking” by tweeting about the storm to promote their products, which could account for a small percentage of the searches.
2 Gangnam Style
Hitting second spot globally but only making it to number 8 in the U.S., the Korean pop music video that went viral on YouTube in mid-2012 changed the world. Certainly, it changed the life of singer Psy, whose “horse-dancing” garnered 9 million views a day by its second month online and coined him a cool $8.1 million dollars from all sources. The video’s popularity is incredible considering the lyrics have no relation to the horse-dancing actions. It set a record with 1 billion views on YouTube, topped the iTunes charts in 31 countries and was viewed by users in 222 countries – 25 more countries than are in the United Nations.
1 Whitney Houston
You’d think most Whitney fans knew everything they needed to know about her, but that wasn’t the case. With Houston’s tragic death on Feb. 11, 2012, the music icon became not only the top trending people search but also the top search of the year on Google, both in the United States and the world. Searches on her name had almost flat-lined for the previous few years but in February peaked dramatically, mostly on search terms related to her death.