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Cognitive Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Amit Gupta

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Yahoo!’s Year in Review Reveals the Daily Search Habits of 2012

Today, Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) revealed the annual list of top searches. Yahoo!’s Year in Review 2012 reflects the daily search habits of users and offers a glimpse into the social trends, compelling newsmakers, top stories, and viral fads of 2012 based on what millions of people searched for. It is clear when looking at the top search habits that partisan politics, the Olympic Games, a seesaw recovery, and a galloping Korean pop singer captured the world’s attention.

Celebrities and technological gadgets draw plenty of online curiosity, but the 2012 elections dominated online searches this year. The elections saturated headline news and ads, but people still checked in online to see what was developing in the presidential elections, as well as their own state and local races. Anticipation for the iPhone 5, in a post-Steve Jobs era, helped Apple maintain a presence in the Yahoo! Top 10. Kim Kardashian, a staple in the Top 10 since 2009, reached the height of her online popularity as most searched person on Yahoo!. Model Kate Upton ricocheted into the national consciousness by landing the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. And the obsession with the royals continued in 2012 as Kate Middleton became the third-most searched person on Yahoo!, thanks in part to her grandmother-in-law's Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics.

Top Searches Overall on Yahoo! in 2012:

 

 

1

  [election]

 

2

[iphone 5]

 

3

[kim kardashian]

 

4

[kate upton]

 

5

[kate middleton]

 

6

[whitney houston]

 

7

[olympics]

 

8

[political polls]

 

9

[lindsay lohan]

 

10

[jennifer lopez]

It’s no surprise the elections preoccupied the online audience, but people obviously had time beyond their civic duties to indulge their guilty pleasures and viral compulsions. The Obsessions list has returned: iPhone 5 snagged the No. 1 slot in a list mostly dominated by pop culture trends like “The Hunger Games,” reality TV breakout Honey Boo Boo, British boy band One Direction, Carly Rae Jepsen’s much-memed song “Call Me Maybe,” and the galloping global hit “Gangnam Style” by Korean pop singer Psy.

Top-Searched Obsessions on Yahoo! in 2012:

 

 

1

  [iphone 5]

 

2

[political polls]

 

3

[megamillions]

 

4

[the hunger games]

 

5

[honey boo boo]

 

6

[fifty shades of grey]

 

7

[one direction]

 

8

[call me maybe]

 

9

[gangnam style]

 

10

[titanic]

The election season provided a perfect opportunity to show how quickly things can go viral. Binders full of women, eastwooding, and Big Bird memes all became viral sensations in 2012. And who can forget the stingray photobomb, and of course McKayla Maroney not being impressed.

Top-Searched Memes on Yahoo! in 2012:

 

 

1

      [kony 2012]

 

2

[binders full of women]

 

3

[hurricane sandy fake storm photos]

 

4

[ridiculously photogenic guy]

 

5

[big bird]

 

6

[dogshaming]

 

7

[stingray photobomb]

 

8

[eastwooding]

 

9

[etch a sketch]

 

10

[mckayla maroney is not impressed]

Users were all about gadgets in 2012. From the iPhone 5 to the iPad mini and the Samsung Galaxy, folks were jonesing for the latest tech trends.

Top-Searched Gadgets on Yahoo! in 2012:

 

 

1

  [iphone 5]

 

 

2

[ipad 3]

 

 

3

[ipad mini]

 

 

4

[samsung galaxy sIII]

 

 

5

[kindle fire]

 

 

6

[iphone 4]

 

 

7

[nook]

 

 

8

[ipod touch]

 

 

9

[samsung galaxy tab]

 

 

10

[samsung galaxy note]

The top two athletes searched overall on Yahoo! in 2012 were Tiger Woods and Maria Sharapova. But all eyes turned to London this summer for the Games of the XXX Olympiad. The Olympics were a top search overall on Yahoo!, and while the “Fab Five” garnered a lot of searches, it was Maria Sharapova, Lolo Jones, Serena Williams, and Hope Solo that topped the Olympian list on Yahoo!.

Top-Searched Olympians on Yahoo! in 2012:

 

 

1

  [maria sharapova]

 

2

[lolo jones]

 

3

[serena williams]

 

4

[hope solo]

 

5

[mckayla maroney]

 

6

[caroline wozniacki]

 

7

[leryn franco]

 

8

[michael phelps]

 

9

[misty may-treanor]

 

10

[aly raisman]

It looks like the Dallas Cowboys really are “America’s team,” as they top the list of all sports teams on Yahoo! in 2012. Even the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders and game schedule were tops. However, it looks like MLB is giving the NFL a run for its money when it comes to being “America’s sport,” with five baseball teams in the Top 10 sports team searches.

Top-Searched Sports Teams on Yahoo! in 2012:

 

 

1

  [dallas cowboys]

 

2

[new york yankees]

 

3

[los angeles lakers]

 

4

[san francisco giants]

 

5

[detroit tigers]

 

6

[pittsburgh steelers]

 

7

[green bay packers]

 

8

[st louis cardinals]

 

9

[san francisco 49ers]

 

10

[oakland a's]

“Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, but here’s my number, so call me maybe?” — It is no surprise that music newcomer Carly Rae Jepsen’s song “Call Me Maybe” became the top-searched song of 2012. The song had everyone from the Harvard baseball team to the USA Olympic swim team and even “Sesame Street” getting into the tune. “Gangnam Style” also had viral impact in 2012 and was the second-most searched song on Yahoo!.

Top-Searched Songs/Music Lyrics on Yahoo! in 2012:

 

 

1

      [call me maybe] (carly rae jepsen)

 

2

[gangnam style] (psy)

 

3

[someone like you] (adele)

 

4

[somebody that i used to know] (gotye)

 

5

[sexy and i know it] (lmfao)

 

6

[we are young] (fun.)

 

7

[rolling in the deep] (adele)

 

8

[you belong with me] (taylor swift)

 

9

 

[what makes you beautiful] (one direction)

 

10

[gummy bear song] (gummibär)

The top-searched TV shows overall on Yahoo! in 2012 reflect our continued obsession with competition reality shows. Topping the list: “American Idol” followed by “Dancing With the Stars” and “The Young & the Restless.” The top-searched TV dramas were “The Walking Dead” and “Game of Thrones.” But mostly in 2012, people wanted to laugh, and the shows below represent the top-searched comedies on TV in 2012.

Top-Searched TV Comedies on Yahoo! in 2012:

 

 

1

  [the big bang theory]

 

2

[how i met your mother]

 

3

[glee]

 

4

[south park]

 

5

[family guy]

 

6

[modern family]

 

7

[adult swim]

 

8

[two and a half men]

 

9

[the simpsons]

 

10

[drop dead diva]

When you have a question, you want an answer, and users immediately turn to Yahoo! to get the answers to their most pressing questions. The top “who is” question on Yahoo! in 2012 was [who is the girl with the dragon tattoo] and the top “where is question” was [where is the superbowl this year]. The top “what is” and how-to questions are below:

Top ‘What Is’ Searches on Yahoo! in 2012:

 

 

1

      [what is SOPA]

 

2

[what is love]

 

3

[what is the hunger games about]

 

4

[what is KONY]

 

5

[what is a zip line]

 

6

[what is obamacare]

 

7

[what is scientology]

 

8

[what is a blue moon]

 

9

[what is tapenade]

 

10

[what is the electoral college]
 

Top How-To Searches on Yahoo! in 2012:

 

1

[how to make a diaper cake]

 

2

[how to buy facebook stock]

 

3

[how to build a deck]

 

4

[how to boil an egg]

 

5

[how to cook corn on the cob]

 

6

[how to cook swiss chard]

 

7

[how to make salsa]

 

8

[how to get rid of bags under the eyes]

 

9

[how to make cake pops]

 

10

[how to cook pumpkin seeds]

Every day on Yahoo! at 5 p.m., as folks across the country prepare for dinner, [chicken recipes] spike on Yahoo!. This staple protein was the top search in the Recipes category. Putting tradition aside, there were also a lot of searches for weird and quirky foods in 2012.

Top-Searched Recipes on Yahoo! in 2012:

 

1

[chicken recipes]

2

[crockpot recipes]

3

[halloween recipes]

4

[vegetarian recipes]

5

[salmon recipes]

6

[beef stew recipes]

7

[zucchini recipes]

8

[eggplant recipes]

9

[cake recipes]

10

[shrimp recipes]
 

Most Appetizing Yet Stomach-Turning Searches on Yahoo! in 2012:

1

[candy corn oreos]

2

[pork doughnuts]

3

[bacon ice cream]

4

[flamin’ hot cheetos]

5

[deep-fried strawberries]

6

[beer milkshake]

7

[deep kool-aid]

8

[guinness cupcakes]

9

[maple bacon beer]

10

[grape jelly meatballs]

Politicians were better behaved this year than last, when their antics allowed for their own Top 10 list. Yet there was no end to scandalous behavior in 2012, which brought the downfall of a cycling icon, a four-star general, and even the president's (Secret Service) men.

Top-Searched Scandals on Yahoo! in 2012:

 

 

1

      [kate middleton photo scandal]

 

2

[jackson family fight]

 

3

[lance armstrong doping]

 

4

[general david petraeus affair]

 

5

[new orleans saints' bountygate]

 

6

[bobby petrino affair]

 

7

[secret service scandal]

 

8

[savile sex scandal]

 

9

[air force sex scandal]

 

10

[j.p. morgan/london whale loss]

For more about the Yahoo! 2012 Year in Review and other top searches, go to yearinreview.yahoo.com or search for "2012 Year in Review" on Yahoo.com.

Additional Yahoo! Top Search lists available to media:
Top-Searched News Topics on Yahoo! in 2012
Top-Searched International Affairs on Yahoo! in 2012
Top Weather-Related Searches on Yahoo! in 2012
Female Fights: Top-Searched Issues That Impacted Women on Yahoo! in 2012
Top-Searched Politicians on Yahoo! in 2012
Top-Searched Financial Terms on Yahoo! in 2012
Top Job Searches on Yahoo! in 2012
Top-Searched Coupons/Deals on Yahoo! in 2012
Top-Searched Health Symptoms on Yahoo! in 2012
Top-Searched Diets on Yahoo! in 2012
Top-Searched Celebrity Couples Who Broke Up in 2012:
Top-Searched Movies and Television Shows on Yahoo! in 2012

If you would like to see additional lists please reach out to Carolyn Clark

About the Yahoo! Year in Review Methodology

To develop the Yahoo! Year in Review, our editors analyze Yahoo! Search queries based on a number of factors, including absolute volume and growth from previous periods, to see which themes and trends bubble to the surface. Individuals and their Search queries always remain anonymous.

About Yahoo!

Yahoo! is focused on making the world's daily habits more inspiring and entertaining. By creating highly personalized experiences for our users, we keep people connected to what matters most to them, across devices and around the world. In turn, we create value for advertisers by connecting them with the audiences that build their businesses. Yahoo! is headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., and has offices located throughout the Americas, Asia Pacific (APAC) and the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) regions. For more information, visit the pressroom (pressroom.yahoo.net) or the company's blog (yodel.yahoo.com).

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