When the year began so many months ago, there was no telling what would capture our attention and lead us running for the Internet. Now, we know. We know that royalty never goes out of style. We know celebrity breakups and makeups never get old. We know that the world loves a new gadget, is enraptured by storm coverage and, of course, remains ever hungry for the latest revelations on the mysteries of the universe. Here are the 10 most commonly searched terms of 2012.
1. Kate Middleton: Be still our beating hearts, the Duchess of Cambridge continued to capture our attention the year after her marriage to Prince William. It certainly helped that she made so many memorable appearances during the London Olympics, and those taboo topless photos stirred some controversy. But let’s be honest, the reason why most were searching for Kate and not the celebrated backside of her sister Pippa is the alleged baby bump. We have waited for those rumours to take root and now we have them, and wouldn't you know it? The day Yahoo!'s Year in Review went live, Kate's pregnancy was confirmed!
2. iPhone 5: Here’s a surprise: People who love the internet also love the latest tech gadgets. The release of the iPhone 5 followed the same trajectory as its predecessors. There were months of rumours and leaks, accurate or otherwise, about the phone’s new perks. Then there was a frenetic release highlighted by Apple-mad consumers lining up overnight. Finally there was the long, slow exhale as owners extolled its virtues and criticized its shortcomings (the map app, for one) while those hamstrung by the iPhone 5’s backorder stewed furiously. The good news: we’ll likely get to do it all again next year.
3. Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson: The two pale, gaunt stars of the massive Twilight movie franchise got more than enough attention this year thanks to a dramatic relationship about-face. She cheated with some director (wassisname?) and he was heartbroken. She was sad and wrote him a public apology. He did a round on the talk show circuit looking like a wounded puppy and Twilight fans took to the blogs and YouTube to mourn the end of Romance. And then the couple got back together, quietly at first, just in time to promote their latest Twilight film —now in theatres, check your local listings. Ah, true love.
4. Fifty Shades of Grey: These are the books that popularized the term “mommy porn” and launched the first recent trend in books that did not involve teenage wizards or teenage vampires. The series is notable for its explicitly sexual scenes featuring bondage and submission. It has also been credited for a spike in sex toy sales, blamed for divorces and attributed to one or two uncomfortable rides on public transit. Grey fans continue to mine the internet for rumours surrounding the cast of the inevitable movie spinoff.
5. Higgs Boson: See: 50 Shades of Grey. No, not really. The Higgs Boson is probably the most bad-assed discovery to come out of the world of physics since electricity. Also called the elusive “God particle,” tearful scientists joyfully declared the discovery of the Higgs Boson a milestone in the understanding of nature. It essentially explains why matter has mass which, trust us, is kind of a big deal. Or don’t trust us and search for more details online. Everyone else is doing it.
6. Hurricane Sandy: Hurricane Sandy caused immeasurable damage from the Caribbean, along the U.S. eastern seaboard and into Canada. More than 200 deaths have been attributed to the November superstorm. Also nicknamed Frankenstorm, Sandy made direct contact with New York and New Jersey, where power remains spotty and cleanup continues in some areas.
7. Jessica Simpson: Jessica Simpson? Really? The early 2000’s singing sensation was really one of the most-searched terms of 2012. Was it her weight that kept people interested? Was it the paparazzi’s fascination with her family that kept her in the spotlight? (Exclusive: Photos of father Joe eating lunch now available online!) Well, yes, actually. Simpson gave birth to her first child earlier this year, daughter Maxwell Drew Johnson. Simpson has since reportedly lost her baby weight and Joe, presumably a proud grandpa, continues to be photographed eating in public.
8. Jessica Paré: The buzz-worthy Canadian actress broke out on the hit show Mad Men this year when her character was propelled from a seemingly bit part to a lead role after marrying the dashing Don Draper. Her sultry rendition of "Zou Bisou" became one of the most talked about moments of the season and pretty much blew up the Internet.
9. Scientology: This spicy mix of religion and science fiction was top of mind most of the year as the world watched Tom Cruise, its most vocal and not-at-all-unstable member, execute an awkward public divorce with Katie Holmes. The split came amid rumours and reports that made Scientology look a wee bit creepy. Apparently Katie had to audition to become Tom’s leading lady; reportedly she left him to shield their daughter Suri from the hardcore aspects of the church. Better luck next year, Scientology’s PR wing.
10. Miss Universe Canada Jenna Talackova: Talackova became Miss Universe’s first transgender contestant after successfully appealing a bid to have her disqualified for not having been born a woman. The Vancouver model was eventually eliminated in the Toronto pageant’s penultimate round and named Miss Congeniality. Talackova underwent gender reassignment surgery at the age of 19 and her inclusion in the Miss Universe Canada pageant was seen as a win for the transgender community.