Facebook, Google release 2012 trends
Felix Baumgartner's daring freefall from near space was a top trend on Google.
- Facebook, Twitter and Google all just released their year-in-review reports
- Top trends: Superstorm Sandy, Whitney Houston
- More than two-thirds of American adults who are online now use social media regularly
(CNN) -- If you can't recall everything you loved and hated about 2012, Facebook, Twitter and Google all just released their year-in-review reports. And all three reflect what many of us experienced firsthand:
Thousands of strangers gathering to watch a rover land on Mars and a man fall from space.
A hurricane slamming the East Coast while the world watched tragedy strike and heroes emerge.
Social media, combined with the ability to search and surface information almost instantly, repeatedly brought Internet users together to huddle around the virtual campfire, sharing their stories through image, text and sound.
'Gangnam Style' to 'Kony 2012:' This year's top viral videos
New Facebook privacy changes
Why is Google being investigated?
Whitney Houston's accidental drowning death was Google's top search trend, generated more than 10 million tweets and was the third-biggest event on Facebook in 2012. Hurricane Sandy generated more than 20 million tweets, was the fourth biggest event on Facebook and was the top trending event of 2012 on Google. Politics and political gaffes (remember Big Bird?) were top news trends on Google.
Google defines trends as those searches with the highest amount of traffic over a sustained period in 2012 when compared to 2011.
Although social media and search engines serve different purposes, both ultimately reveal what the world is talking about. More than two-thirds of American adults online now use social media regularly, according to a recent study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. More women than men are social media users, which could explain how "Fifty Shades of Grey" wound up as the fourth most-read book of the year on Facebook.
More than 90% of adults aged 18-29 are on social media, so it shouldn't surprise anyone that the "Hunger Games" series accounted for the top three most-read books and the No. 1 movie among members of Facebook.
Trends on Twitter seemed to reflect a more diverse demographic. Its most popular tweets came from President Barack Obama celebrating "Four More Years," Justin Bieber mourning the loss of a young cancer patient and frustrated NFL player TJ Lang ranting about the league's replacement refs.
Overall trends in the U.S. seemed to reflect a natural curiosity about the new, with top "What Is" trends being SOPA, KONY, Yolo and "What is Instagram?"
For more on the trends:
Twitter: 2012 Year on Twitter
Google: Google Zeitgeist 2012
Facebook: 2012 Year in Review
Part of complete coverage on
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1526 GMT (2326 HKT)
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT)
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
February 8, 2013 -- Updated 0718 GMT (1518 HKT)
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
Today's five most popular stories