NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- The world's attention wavered between the tragic and the silly in 2012, and along the way, Web surfers searched in huge numbers to find out about a royal princess, the latest iPad, and a record-breaking skydiver.
Google Inc. has released its 12th annual year-end "zeitgeist" report rounding up "the spirit of the times as seen through billions of web searches."
"This year was a lot of interest between talent and tragedy," Google trends expert Daniel Sieberg told 1010 WINS. "Folks that were interested in particular performers, some who died unexpectedly, and also with regards to particular tragedies that happened with Hurricane Sandy, for example, that was one that really caught people's attention."
Whitney Houston was the "top trending'' search of the year. People around the globe searched en masse for news about Houston's accidental drowning in a bathtub just before she was to perform at a pre-Grammy Awards party in February.
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Korean rapper PSY's "Gangnam Style'' music video trotted into second spot, a testament to his self-deprecating giddy-up dance move. The video is approaching a billion views on YouTube.
Superstorm Sandy, the damaging storm that knocked out power and flooded parts of the East Coast in the midst of a U.S. presidential campaign, was third.
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The next biggest trending searches globally were a pair of threes: the iPad 3 tablet from Apple Inc. and Diablo 3, a popular video game.
Rounding out the Top 10 were Kate Middleton, who made news with scandalous photos and a royal pregnancy; the 2012 Olympics in London; Amanda Todd, a Canadian teen who was found dead of an apparent suicide in October after being bullied online; Michael Clarke Duncan, the "Green Mile'' actor who died of a heart attack in September at age 54; and "BBB12,'' the 12th edition of "Big Brother Brasil,'' a reality show featuring scantily clad men and women living together.
Google defines topics as "trending'' when they garner a high amount of traffic over a sustained period of time.
WATCH: Google Looks Back At 2012
The top 10 most searched terms in New York City for 2012 were:
1. Hurricane Sandy
3. NY Knicks
4. NY Giants
5. StreetEasy NYC
6. SoulCycle NYC
7. NY Times
9. NY Daily News
10. Con Edison
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