SAN FRANCISCO - Nelson Mandela topped Google's list of the hottest searches for 2013 as the Internet giant on Tuesday provided a look at the "spirit of the times" online.
The 13th annual Google Zeitgeist compilation mined Internet search trends through the year to spotlight people, places and events that captured the world's attention.
"It's perhaps unsurprising that the number one trending search of 2013 was an international symbol of strength and peace: Nelson Mandela," Google senior vice-president Amit Singhal said in a blog post.
"Global search interest in the former president of South Africa was already high this year, and after his passing, people from around the world turned to Google to learn more about Madiba and his legacy."
Anti-apartheid hero Mandela, fondly known to South Africans as Madiba, died on Dec 5, aged 95. Second in the global top-10 list was The Fast and The Furious film celebrity Paul Walker, who was killed in a car crash last month. Third was Apple's iPhone 5s.
Glee television star Cory Monteith, who died of a fatal drug overdose in July, was fourth and dance craze Harlem Shake fifth.
Completing the round-up was the bombing at the Boston Marathon; Britain's Royal baby; the Samsung Galaxy S4; Sony's new PlayStation 4 video game console; and North Korea.
"People uploaded more than 1.7 million video versions of the Harlem Shake to YouTube, propelling it to the number five spot on our global list," Singhal said.
"And unashamedly, we all wanted to learn about twerking, which topped this year's 'what is...' list of search terms (although I'm still not sure I understand that one!)."
Google Zeitgeist results, the most extensive from the California-based Internet titan to date, were also broken down for various countries and categories, such as people, events, films or athletes.
Google made details of global search trends, along with breakdowns for 72 countries, available online at www.google.com/zeitgeist/
The look back at the year by the world's dominant search engine came after Yahoo and Microsoft's Bing released their own takes on what was on the minds of those hunting for information online in 2013.