LOS ANGELES (AP) — The world's attention wavered between the tragic and the silly in 2012, and along the way, millions of people searched the Web to find out about a royal princess, the latest iPad, and a record-breaking skydiver.
Whitney Houston was the "top trending" search of the year, according to Google Inc.'s year-end "zeitgeist" report. Google's 12th annual roundup is "an in-depth look at the spirit of the times as seen through the billions of searches on Google over the past year," the company said in a blog post Wednesday.
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.
Google defines topics as "trending" when they garner a high amount of traffic over a sustained period of time.
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.
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.
Some trending people, according to Google, were:
— Felix Baumgartner, an Austrian skydiver who became the first to break the sound barrier without a vehicle with a 24-mile plummet from Earth's stratosphere;
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