What Did the World Search for in 2013?


Each day around the world, millions of people use the Internet for search. We continually want to find out more about our favorite celebrities, shows, heroes, travel destinations or just great places to eat. We search to compare prices of the latest gadgets or find the calorie counts of our favorite foods.

In Google’s annual Zeitgeist (“spirit of the times”), it looks to reflect on the people, places and moments that captured our attention. This year’s celebration is the most robust to date with 1,000+ top 10 lists for categories that include Trending People, Most-Searched Events and Top Trending Searches from over 72 countries.

Now as we all get ready to turn the final page over to a new year, this is what you searched for in 2013!

Google Zeitgeist | Here’s to 2013

In many ways, 2013 was a time for goodbyes. It’s no surprise that the top trending search of 2013 was also an international hero and symbol of strength and peace: Nelson Mandela. Searches for the former President of South Africa are always high, but after his passing many people around the world wanted to learn more about Madiba and the important lessons he taught us. Tragedies also captured the world’s attention, like the Boston Marathon and Typhoon Haiyan this year, bringing out overwhelming compassion in people to find ways to help out in the Philippines.

2013 had many shining moments too, like the 1.7 million video versions of the Harlem Shake uploaded to YouTube or the birth of the royal baby. And what about the girl who took a stand for what she believed in and created a dance video to officially quit her job? Or when Batkid saved San Francisco and inspired us all?

This is the list of the top 10 global trending searches in 2013:

  • Nelson Mandela
  • Paul Walker
  • iPhone 5s
  • Cory Monteith
  • Harlem Shake
  • Boston Marathon
  • Royal Baby
  • Samsung Galaxy S4
  • PlayStation 4
  • North Korea

You can explore all the top 100 global trends on the Zeitgeist homepage and you can even look back on years past up to 2001 if you’re feeling a little nostalgic! Be sure to check out Google’s interactive 3D global map, which showcases all the top search trends of 2013 by day from cities around the world. Spin the globe to select cities and topics and explore the world of search.

Google Trends top searches

What was your most meaningful search of 2013?

Daniel Zeevi

By Daniel Zeevi

Daniel is a social network architect, web developer, infographic designer, writer, speaker and founder of DashBurst. Full-time futurist and part-time content curator, always on the hunt for disruptive new technology, creative art and web humor.