New Years is always a time to look back at the year that was and what it means for us all going forward.
Many other columnists will be counting down their best/worst lists of events over the year. But since this columnist loves writing about all the wonderful things the Internet can do for you, I’m just going to use Google.
As in the past several years, this year Google has launched a website, http://www.google.com/zeitgeist, to tally the sum of people's curiosity and endeavours around the entire globe through 2012.
A video montage on the site features highlights from the most significant moments of the year in politics, science, art, sports and basic human interaction.
Routine elections in the U.S. and France, and more experimental ones in the countries of the ongoing Arab Spring revolutions are featured, as are the astronomical feats from NASA’s flawless Mars Rover landing to SpaceX’s first commercial trip to the International Space Station and the RedBull-sponsored space fall, as Felix Baumgartner survived a jump from 24 miles above the surface of Earth, becoming the first human to break the sound barrier with no engine besides gravity.
The Large Hadron Collider seems to have accomplished its first objective, decades in the making, of locating the Higg’s Boson and completing our contemporary model of the universe.
The video shows the devastation of Hurricane Sandy and conflicts in the Middle East, by showing how the Internet passed the evidence on and rallied support.
The triumph and tragedy and joy and hope that we saw and we shared.
I can’t really do it justice. You should check it out.
And while there, you can delve a little deeper if you like, into the most googled terms of the year, in a dozen different categories.
The most searched for term was Whitney Houston, after the singer died back in June. The next was Korean pop hit Gangnam Style, which swept the world this summer and recently became the first YouTube video to be viewed one billion times.
Unlike other countdown lists of best/worst-ofs, which are written by people and as such are influenced by individual tastes, Google’s list is a reflection of the 1.2 trillion searches made by the site’s more-than-one-billion users all over the globe.
And it is a global list. Four of the top 10 TV shows are from Brazil, including the top two.
America’s first entry on the TV list is number three, “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.”
At the very least, the site is a good reminder that 2012 was more than bickering politicians, shooting sprees and doomsday predictions.
(Zach White is a Havre Daily News reporter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)