What do Pinterest, Hurricane Sandy and the Olympics have in common?

All three piqued the curiosity of Canadians this year, topping Google's list of the highest trending search queries in the country.

The internet giant's 12th annual year-end Zeitgeist project looks at the most popular and fastest-rising queries from 55 countries — including Canada — offering a glimpse into what topics most captured the world's attention in 2012.

Top trending searches in Canada:

  • Pinterest.
  • Hurricane Sandy.
  • Olympics.
  • Diablo III.
  • Gangnam Style.

Pinterest, a content-sharing service that lets users collect and "re-pin" images, videos and other items to their pinboard, was the top trending search term in Canada. Launched only two years ago, the U.S.-based site is one of the fastest-growing social networking websites.

This year's summer Olympics, along with many of its athletes, made it into almost every country's top trends, according to Google's official blog.

In Canada, the Olympics ranked third place overall — below Pinterest and Hurricane Sandy — with diver Alexandre Despatie, soccer player Christine Sinclair and multiple Olympic-medallist Clara Hughes among the most searched Canadian Olympians.


Google says Justin Bieber, shown here accepting an American Music Award for favourite album, was the second most-searched musical performer in Canada in 2012. (Matt Sayles/Invision/Associated Press)

Rounding out the top five overall search queries were the highly-anticipated video game Diablo III and the surprise hit Gangnam Style by Korean rapper PSY. 

Despite making headlines several times for his wardrobe gaffes, his hostile reception at the Grey Cup and his big win at the American Music Awards, Justin Bieber was the second most-searched musical performer in Canada. He was edged out of the top spot by U.K. boy band One Direction.

"He still has tons and tons of searches, but it's interesting," said Google Canada spokesman Aaron Brindle. "This is kind of a hard year for Justin Bieber because he was outpaced by One Direction, and then we also saw ... Gangnam Style pass Justin Bieber's (Baby) as the most watched video of all time last month."

Toronto rapper Drake was the third most-searched musical performer, while the unexpected death of superstar Whitney Houston put her in fourth place.

Most-searched musical performers in Canada:

  • One Direction.
  • Justin Bieber.
  • Drake.
  • Whitney Houston.
  • Rihanna.

In the realm of politics, Prime Minster Stephen Harper was Google's most-searched Canadian politician, followed by Liberal leadership contender Justin Trudeau.

According to Google's blog, the annual Zeitgeist project is an in-depth look at the "spirit of the times," pointing out stories and topics that have captured the public's attention.

Google is the most-used search engine on the web, handling about 100 billion search queries each month. 

With files from The Canadian Press