2013 in retrospect …. According to Google.


2013 in retrospect …. According to Google.


Google had released its annual ranking of search results for 2013, and it is always interesting to see what the trends are.


Worldwide,  Google handles just over 77% of all searches on desktop computers and about 87% on mobile devices, according to estimates from Net Applications. Each year Google ranks the year’s top “trending” searches, meaning that the queries are ranked based on their rise in search volume for 2013 versus the previous year.


The top 10 list of global trending searches for 2013 looks like this:


  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


Results like this would certainly seem to back up the idea of a cultural decline that places Paul Walker and the Harlem Shake in such close proximity to Nelson Mandela (in the U.S., Walker actually comes in at #1)


But keep in mind that the 2013 trending ranking compares the rise in a search engine query compared to a year ago. Presumably, more people were searching for Nelson Mandela in 2012 than Paul Walker, so the film actor’s recent and unexpected death brought a very high year-over-year increase in 2013.


This year Google has made available an interactive 3D global map showing the top search trends on any given day, from specific cities around the world. It’s possible, with just a few clicks and drags to see, for example that on April 17, “Margaret Thatcher” on the day of her funeral, was the top search term in London, while “Boston Marathon” and “ricin” were the top queries in Boston just days after the bombing at the city’s marathon occurred.


For Thailand, type in:




What’s most striking about the map, though, is that it serves as a powerful visual reminder of the global disparities in Internet access. While the U.S. and Europe show data for dozens of cities, the vast majority of Africa is empty. The few cities that are shown are scattered among South Africa, Kenya and a few West African nations. A very stark reminder that the Internet, as ubiquitous as it has become in the developed nations, is still out of reach for the majority of the world’s population.


On that note, a healthy happy and prosperous new year to you all and may technology assist us all in the coming 12 months!