What we searched for in 2013

December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving is now in the rearview mirror, which means that it’s just about time to get nostalgic for 2013. Every year, most search engines release lists of what users most frequently looked for in the past months.

Ask.com and Bing are the biggest search engines, so far, to release their data for 2013. Both listed searches for the royal baby followed by the Boston Marathon bombings as the top two news stories. Searches for George Zimmerman and the arrest of Ariel Castro were also among the top 10, while Syria came in seventh on Bing’s list and third on Ask.com’s.

Bing users also looked for information on gun rights, Tesla, Anthony Weiner, oil prices and the “fiscal cliff,” whereas Ask.com’s users were more interested in the Haiyan typhoon in the Philippines, the Navy Yard shooting, Oscar Pistorius, Detroit’s financial woes and the appointment of a new pope.

Ask.com also looked specifically at top political searches in a year of high political tension. The partial government shutdown topped that list, followed by questions about the whereabouts of the former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

When it comes to most-searched devices on Bing, Microsoft’s own Xbox led the pack, followed by the iPhone, a general search for “Android,” the iPad, Windows Phone, the Surface and the Sony PlayStation.

As for memes, Bing revealed that the most-searched Web trend was the Harlem Shake, the dance video that generated thousands of parodies. Following it — and probably upset about taking second place — was Grumpy Cat.

A list of the most-searched news stories from Bing and Ask.com are below:

Bing’s most searched news stories:

1. Royal Baby Born

2. Boston Marathon Bombing

3. Cleveland Kidnapping

4. George Zimmerman Trial

5. Gun Rights

6. Tesla

7. Syria

8. Anthony Weiner

9. Oil Prices

10. Fiscal Cliff

Ask.com’s top news searches and questions:

1. Royal Baby. What is the royal baby’s name?

2. Boston Marathon. Where was the Boston Marathon bomber found?

3. Syrian. Will the U.S. invade Syria?

4. Philippines Typhoon. How can I help victims of the Philippines typhoon?

5. George Zimmerman. Why was George Zimmerman acquitted?

6. Navy Yard Shooting. Who was the Navy Yard shooter?

7. Oscar Pistorius. Did Oscar Pistorius kill his girlfriend?

8. Ariel Castro. Who did Ariel Castro kidnap?

9. Detroit Bankruptcy. How far in debt is Detroit?

10. Benedict XVI. Why did Pope Benedict step down?

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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