Google’s Top 10 Trending News Stories of 2013

And the people searches that drove them.

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Giles Keyte / Universal Studios

The news that Fast and Furious star Paul Walker died in a car crash on Nov. 30 at 40 tops the “trending searches” and “trending people” sections of Google’s 13th annual Zeitgeist collection, a round-up of the people, places, and events that garnered the most attention on search in the U.S. this year. The tweet from Walker’s representatives confirming the actor’s death via his official account was also one of the most retweeted moments on Twitter, garnering more than 400,000 retweets.

According to Google, “The ‘trending’ queries are the searches that had the highest amount of traffic over a sustained period in 2013 as compared to 2012.” Not surprisingly, the lists are dominated by searches for updates on breaking news events, especially the deaths of public figures, including Nelson Mandela, the former South African president and anti-apartheid icon, and entertainment stars like James Gandolfini, Cory Monteith, and Mindy McCready. The much-anticipated, yet mysterious, launch date of the iPhone 5s and due date of the Royal Baby also made the lists.

(MOREThe Top 10 Googled Images of 2013)

Yet we can only imagine that the Harlem Shake, a dance craze that went viral on YouTube, made the list because people were trying to figure out what in the world it was.

Trending Searches

  • Paul Walker
  • Boston Marathon Bombing
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Cory Monteith
  • iPhone 5s
  • Government Shutdown
  • James Gandolfini
  • Harlem Shake
  • Royal Baby
  • Adrian Peterson

(MORE: Google’s Top 10 Trending Events in the U.S. 2013)

Trending People

  • Paul Walker
  • Cory Monteith
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Aaron Hernandez
  • Adrian Peterson
  • Miley Cyrus
  • James Gandolfini
  • Paula Deen
  • Mindy McCready
  • Trayvon Martin

LIST: Tributes to Those We Lost in 2013

LIST: Top 10 of Everything 2013