Google's zeitgeist report, which catalogs the terms and phrases we searched for most in 2013, sometimes provides an insightful window into what people were most curious about over the last 12 months. This year's top 10, however, is dominated by the same two topics that have ensnared our collective imaginations for most of human history: Death and the desire to own shiny expensive stuff.
Nelson Mandela was the top global trending search of 2013, according to Google. After the South African icon was action star Paul Walker, who passed away last month in a fiery car crash. The third spot went to Apple's iPhone 5S.
Sandwiched in between Glee's Cory Monteith and the Boston Marathon tragedy at the #4 and #6 spots, respectively, was a single 2013-defining outlier: The Harlem Shake, a puzzling and derivative dance-meme that highlighted the internet's insatiable desire to confuse parents.
Rounding out the rest of the most Googled terms is a little prince, more gadgets, and a mercurial corner of Earth ruled by tyrants:
1. Nelson Mandela
2. Paul Walker
3. iPhone 5S
4. Cory Monteith
5. Harlem Shake
6. Boston Marathon
7. Royal Baby
8. Samsung Galaxy S4
9. PlayStation 4
10. North Korea
Feel free to look around at the other stuff that piqued our curiosity at Google's special 2013 landing page. And if 2013's most-Googled list strikes you as odd, perhaps take a look at 2012's, where the top two search terms were Whitney Houston and "Gangnam Style," respectively.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
- 13 Urban Outfitters controversies
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- How to be the star of a cocktail party where you don't know anyone
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- Russia is stealthily threatening America with nuclear war
- Why so many Christians won't back down on gay marriage
Subscribe to the Week