Facebook tops Google searches for UK in 2013

Facebook logo
Image caption The social network was the most searched-for term on Google UK in 2013. It was also the most asked "what is" question
Xbox One
Image caption Google also revealed its "top trending" searches for 2013. These were search terms that had seen the largest increase in traffic since 2012. In 10th place was Microsoft's Xbox One. The console was launched in November and went head to head in a battle with Sony's PlayStation 4
Margaret Thatcher
Image caption 9th: Margaret Thatcher. She became the UK's first female prime minister in 1979. She served for 11 years in which time she sent British troops to defend the Falkland Islands and survived an IRA bombing at a hotel in Brighton. She died in April.
Ian Duncan Smith
Image caption 8th: Universal Jobmatch. The government website went online in March. It was launched by Iain Duncan Smith's Department for Work and Pensions to help people claiming jobseeker's allowance look for job vacancies
Competitors jump over The Chair
Image caption 7th: Grand National. Competitors jump over The Chair at the Grand National in Aintree which took place in April
Nelson Mandela statue
Image caption 6th: Nelson Mandela. The former South African president died in December. He spent 27 years in prison and once released went on to become the first black leader of his country. A statue was unveiled at the Union Buildings in Pretoria the day after his funeral.
Oscar Pistorius
Image caption 5th: Oscar Pistorius. The Paralympic sprinter appeared in court in South Africa in June facing charges of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
Cory Monteith
Image caption 4th: Cory Monteith. The star of US hit TV show Glee was found dead in a Vancouver hotel in July. A coroner's report found he died after taking a cocktail of heroin and alcohol
Commemorative mug for Prince George
Image caption 3rd: Royal baby. Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge was born on 22 July 2013. His birth means the monarchy has three generations of heirs to the throne for the first time since 1894
Tim Cook
Image caption 2nd: iPhone 5S. Apple CEO Tim Cook uses an iPhone to take photos on the day of the launch in September of the latest model
Tribute to Paul Walker
Image caption 1st: Paul Walker. The star of the Fast and the Furious franchise of films died in a high speed car crash in California at the end of November

Google has revealed that Facebook topped its list of the most searched-for terms of 2013 in the UK.

The social networking site beat the search company's own YouTube video service to the top spot. Google itself made it in to third place.

Shopping sites proved popular with web users with eBay, Amazon and Argos all making an appearance in the top 10.

Aside from spending and sharing, news proved popular with BBC News and the Daily Mail featuring high on the list.

Google also examined what questions people typed in to its search engine and from this compiled a top "what is" list. Facebook topped this too with a substantial number of UK-based searchers wanting to know what the social networking site was.

Image caption The question many people wanted the answer to

The second question was more a more heartfelt, "What is love?"

Other popular "what is" topics included searches for cancer, energy and blood pressure. Perhaps reflecting economic news throughout the year "What is the minimum wage" and "What is Universal Jobmatch" made it in to the top 10 most-asked. Universal Jobmatch is a government-run jobs-listing site.

Explaining Facebook's position at the top of the most searched and "what is" lists, Chris Green - an analyst at the Davies Murphy Group consultancy - said: "Facebook has now firmly established itself as a hub on the internet, making it a destination for surfers to do multiple tasks such as communications, gaming, shopping, photo-sharing and information gathering.

"These are tasks that would have previously involved using a search engine to source multiple sites."

The "most searched-for" terms are based on the number of times the relevant words are typed into Google's search engine.

Mr Green added that Google's own appearance near the top of its list could be explained by the fact that Chrome and other internet browsers can be set to automatically use the search engine when a phrase - rather than a full web address - is typed into their top bars.

"Chrome makes no distinction between web addresses and words in its search box so people get lazy and just type in single words like Google rather than full web addresses," he said.

"But this registers as a search."

Man of Steel

Google also unveiled its "top trending" search terms for the UK in 2013. These are the entries that have seen the largest increase in traffic compared with 2012.

Many of the entries on the list reflected major news events of the past 12 months.

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Media captionGoogle's Laurian Clemence spoke to the BBC's Aaron Heslehurst

The death of the Fast and the Furious film star Paul Walker was at the top of the list.

Both Nelson Mandela and former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who died this year also feature in the top 10.

The birth of Prince George in July came in at number four on the UK list.

"Celebrities always get a lot of interest and the passing of well-known figures makes people want to learn more about them," said Google's Claudine Beaumont.

"Despite that, some of the more traditional aspects of British life, from the Grand National to the royal birth, have generated many Google searches and will be remembered as events that have characterised the year."

New product launches helped the iPhone 5S and Microsoft's Xbox One become the biggest tech trending search terms.

The worldwide "top trending" list saw Nelson Mandela in top spot, and also saw the Boston Marathon and North Korea in the top 10.

There was a battle of the superheroes in top 10 most searched-for movies. Man of Steel beat Iron Man 3 in to top place. A small triumph for Superman who had lost out at the box office to his metal-clad rival.

Oscar winners Django Unchained and Zero Dark Thirty also featured. Only one animated film made the list, Despicable Me 2, but it was one of three sequels that were searched for including The Hangover 3.

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