Google Zeitgeist: U.S. trends full of tragedy

Google(s goog) released itsĀ year-end zeitgeist today, and from the looks of it, 2013 was actually pretty depressing for the United States. Google’s top trending search terms this year were dominated by celebrity deaths and catastrophic events, mingled with a few outliers (Miley Cyrus at the VMAs) that stuck in the headlines for weeks.

Here are the zeitgeist’s top trending searches of 2013:

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Surprisingly, at the top of this list is the celebrity Paul Walker, who died on November 30, followed by the tragedy at the Boston Marathon. Nelson Mandela and Cory Monteith also had big trend waves (due to their respective deaths), and at number five sits the first tech-related item: the iPhone 5s.

While it’s not necessarily uncommon for the Zeitgeist — one need only look at Whitney Houston’s domination of the list last year — this year it looks disproportionately tipped to tragedy.

The top trending events of 2013 include:

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Like trending searches, events also dipped into devastating catastrophes. The Boston Marathon is the top of the list here, followed by the government shutdown and the MTV Video Music Awards. The earthquake that hit Moore, Okla., Typhoon Haiyan and the Syria Conflict also made the list this year, as people searched for answers and ways to give aid.

While 2013 seems like a downer from the outset, it’s clear that Google is the platform that handles all the heavy stuff. It makes sense that people use the search engine for up-to-the-minute coverage on serious events throughout the world, and this list reflects that. There are bright spots, namely the birth of the U.K’s Prince George, but Google’s natural predisposition to provide information makes it the go-to for tragic events.