Twerking, Nelson Mandela, 'How to tie a tie': Google's top searches of 2013

On Tuesday, Google unveiled its 13th annual Zeitgeist, a breakdown of around 1.2 trillion searches, which revealed one pressing question that people just couldn’t ask enough times in 2013: “What is twerking?”

This year in search had plenty of other drama as well, from the birth of the royal baby to the death of anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela. So what else were Google users curious about in 2013?

Google explains the news
Snapchat, DOMA, Molly, bitcoin. All of these terms popped up regularly in news stories in 2013. The problem? Apparently people didn’t know what they meant. (They are, respectively, a photo-sharing app, the Defense of Marriage Act, a nickname for the newly popular club drug MDMA, and a virtual currency).

The number one “What is?” question, however, centered around pop singer Miley Cyrus and her controversial grind-it-out performance at the 2013 MTV Music Video Awards.

Here are the rest of Google’s top 10 “What” questions from 2013:

  1. What is twerking?
  2. What is ricin?
  3. What is DOMA?
  4. What is Molly?
  5. What is gluten?
  6. What is sequestration?
  7. What is Obamacare?
  8. What is lupus?
  9. What is Snapchat?
  10. What is bitcoin?

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