Google Zeitgeist 2012

Google’s Zeitgeist Shows Samsung On The Rise and Android Tablets Too

December 13, 2012 - Written By Briley Kenney

Ah, the sheer beauty of social trends. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a beret wearing hipster that fights the grain, or you’re one of the flannel-wearing sheep who blindly follows the top dog, social movement statistics matter. They give us a glimpse into what’s valuable in our lives, and more importantly what’s relevant to everyone on a global level. You could even argue that social trend statistics reveal whom the real winner is when it comes to public awareness and interest.

Google releases such information on a yearly basis in a report called the Google Zeitgeist.

Zeitgeist stands for ‘the spirit of times,’ and aptly describes the procedure that Google uses to calculate annual trends and search queries. This is not to be confused with the poorly composed Zeitgeist album by the Smashing Pumpkins because naturally, I know some of you will make that comparison.

Thanks to Google Zeitgeist 2012, we now know what consumer electronics were the most prominent over the course of this year.

Keep in mind these results are based on the idea of “trends” and do not reflect the total number of searches altogether.

Just because, a topic is higher on the list, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it received more searches than anything else. Google generally collects the query results from each subject and compares them with the relative results of searches over time, so this gives a more accurate trending ratio. Then they set the different subjects on a scale which makes up the Zeitgeist list. For example, the iPhone 5 can be the most searched topic of all time, yet it can still end up lower in the list because it wasn’t as desired according to its own trends ratio.

Zeitgeist Map

Google Zeitgeist 2012

Without further ado, and more rambling on my part, here is the top ten list of gadget searches on a global scale:

  1. iPad 3
  2. Samsung Galaxy S3
  3. iPad Mini
  4. Nexus 7
  5. Galaxy Note 2
  6. Play Station
  7. iPad 4
  8. Microsoft Surface
  9. Kindle Fire
  10. Nokia Lumia 920

At first glance, ┬áit would look like Apple has dominated the list of trends, especially considering the iPad 3, iPad 4 and iPad Mini are all included on the list. Instead, I’ll direct your attention elsewhere.

Look at the Galaxy S3 right there in the number two spot. Not surprisingly, the Galaxy Note 2 is right behind it at spot number five. Probably even more shocking is the fact that the Galaxy Note 2 released closer to the end of 2012, and yet it’s still included on the year’s most trending list.

The Nexus 7 takes position number four in the list, which is also quite respectable. Meanwhile, the Kindle Fire at position number nine just shows that Android tablets are slowly creeping up the list. I believe next year will be an entirely different story, especially with the increasing prominence of the Nexus 7 and general widespread use of Android. The platform is growing at an alarming rate, especially if future predictions are to be believed.

When we reduce the trend statistics, to include gadget searches within the United States only, we get this list:

  1. iPad 3
  2. iPad Mini
  3. Samsung Galaxy S3
  4. Kindle Fire
  5. Nexus 7
  6. Microsoft Surface
  7. Galaxy Note 2
  8. Samsung Galaxy S2
  9. iPhone 5
  10. Nokia Lumia 900

While this does change up the rankings altogether, it’s not surprising to see Samsung with three spots. This narrowed list also shows that, in just the US, the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7 Android tablets are much more popular.

What if we were to narrow that list down to just smartphones?


The top 10 smartphones searched in the United States are the following:

  1. iPhone 5
  2. iPhone 4S
  3. Samsung Galaxy S3
  4. Galaxy Note
  5. Galaxy Note 2
  6. Blackberry Bold
  7. Blackberry Curve
  8. Nokia Lumia 900
  9. Windows Phone 8
  10. Motorola Droid RAZR

Again comes Samsung with three spots on the list! They obviously ‘went ham’ this year on the smartphone market. If you don’t know what that term means, let’s just say it’s another way of describing Samsung as beastly. Even more so, if you consider that Samsung consecutively holds spots three, four and five.

What’s genuinely surprising is that Blackberry phones made it on the list, including the Bold and Curve which take up two spots! Where the hell did you come from RIM?

Trending Mobile Apps in 2012

Temple Run

Last, but certainly not least, are the most searched mobile apps in the US. The related Zeitgeist list includes the following apps:

  1. Temple Run
  2. Instagram
  3. Logo Quiz
  4. Draw Something
  5. Socialcam
  6. Angry Birds Space
  7. Pinterest
  8. Maps App
  9. Amazon App
  10. Facebook App

I guess those Instagram hipsters are going to be rather put off by this list. They’re not considered number one, and they’ll have to deal with a melancholic number two spot. I see plenty of poems and bitter food pictures coming out of this news.

When breaking this list down into more simpler trends, we can see that four out of the ten apps are social networking apps and four of the apps are games (if you consider Logo Quiz a game), which also take three of the top four spots.

I wonder if anyone at Google rage-flipped a table when they realized that Amazon made slot number nine on the list, and their own Google Play is nowhere to be found?

In Summation

Do you remember those school papers you always had to end with “in summation,” or something of the sort? Luckily, I wasn’t forced to use the term, but I thought it would make for a good stopping point.

What we’ve essentially learned from this information is that while Apple products held some of the top trends for the entire year, Android devices are rapidly gaining ground. Of course, most of this can be attributed to Samsung which made it onto every list that included gadgets or smartphones. While we’re talking about Samsung, way to go guys! Keep it up in 2013 and you should see profits (who doesn’t like profit)!

If you want to check out some of the other trends in 2012, you should visit the Google Zeitgeist page. Of course, Facebook also released some 2012 statistics recently, and so did Twitter.

Google, being Google, also composed a touching video that highlights all the trends of the year, which I’ve included below. If you don’t feel at least a little emotional while watching it, well… then I’ve got nothing to say because I thought it was intensely moving. It’s one of the few things that actually made me feel proud to be human. Just watch it, alright?

Google Zeitgeist 2012- Year in Review

What do you guys think of these trends? Is anyone out there surprised? Is anyone out there angry or upset by them? Please feel free to discuss it all in the comments below!

Source: Google Zeitgeist 2012