Top Google and YouTube searches 2013

Google Zeitgeist 2013

Google processes 2 out of every 3 search requests on the internet – so what did the world search for in 2013?

Top 10 global trending searches of 2013

1. Nelson Mandela 2. Paul Walker 3. iPhone 5s 4. Cory Monteith 5. Harlem Shake 6. Boston Marathon 7. Royal Baby 8. Samsung Galaxy s4 9. PlayStation 4 10. North Korea

Cool video:

Top 100 searches picture gallery (good for a quiz):

Google Trends Australia 2013

Most searched – Easter, Melbourne Cup, Movies…

People – Paul Walker, Cory Monteith, Nelson Mandela, Tony Abbott…. Athletes – Sonny Bill Williams, Federer, LeBron James…

Overseas destinations – Disneyland, Dubai, China, London…

What is….twerking, love, gluten…

YouTube Rewind 2013

Top videos 2013 (global) – Includes Volvo trucks with Van Damme; Harlem Shake (army); baby & me (Evian)…

Top videos Aust. 2013 – Ylvis the fox (What does the fox say?); How animals eat their food; YOLO (Adam Levine)….

Top music videos (global) – Psy; Miley; Katy; Pink…

YouTubers star in a mashup of the year’s popular moments:

The 10 weirdest science stories of 2013

Dogs can tell left from right. Cats – they just don’t care. There are 10 smells – and popcorn is one. Compiled by the Aust. Science Media Centre, RiAus and CSIRO.

ICT and popular culture news

Tis the season for lists!

Top 100 Tools for Learning 2013

Always interesting to see the results of the survey by Jane Hart’s Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies (C4LPT) – as voted by 500+ learning professionals from 48 countries. 1. Twitter 2. Google Drive/Docs 3. YouTube 4. Google Search 5. PowerPoint 6. Evernote 7. Dropbox 8. WordPress 9. Facebook 10. Google + Twitter retained #1 for the 5th year running. Pinterest jumped 14 places to #22. Coursera (MOOC platform) was a new addition at #38. Analysis:

Yahoo Year in Review 2013

Interesting videos and images from around the world:

Top US searches: Miley Cyrus #1; computer game Minecraft was #4 (high also in Aust). Part exploratory adventure, part creative building tool, highly valued by gamers, teachers, architecture students…watch the YouTube documentary (1 hr 40m) about its development, founder Markus “Notch” Persson and its unorthodox success.

Facebook trends 2013

Most talked about topics worldwide: 1. Pope Francis 2. Election 3. Royal baby 4. Typhoon 5. Margaret Thatcher 6. Harlem Shake 7. Miley Cyrus 8. Boston Marathon 9. Tour de France 10. Nelson Mandela Short video:

For Australia – 9 million daily users: 1. Vote 2. Princess Kate 3. Cricket 4. Kevin Rudd 5. Grand Final 6. Election 7. GST  8. Lions 9. Tony Abbott 10. Big Brother. The most checked in location was the MCG.

Top Bing searches in Aust. 2013

Various categories – from quinoa to Miranda Kerr to royal baby to Sydney Swans…

Top 10 ads viewed on YouTube in Aust.

One minute on the internet today compared to 2012

The interwebs just keeps on getting bigger….75% increase in Google searches; 42% increase in Amazon revenue; 233% growth in YouTube video hours; 250% increase in Twitter tweets.

National Geographic shares maps via Google Maps Engine

Google Maps Engine is a public data program that lets organisations distribute maps to consumers via Google. National Geographic is now sharing 500 of their maps via the program for free. They will overlay the maps with interactive features such as articles and photos about environmental issues, expeditions and historic events.


Look – up in the sky! It’s your unmanned pizza delivery! The coming drone invasion will deliver everything from pizzas to Amazon products. In the US, Amazon aims for their drones to deliver within a 10 mile range and 30 minute time frame whilst the DomiCopter will deliver 2 Domino’s pizzas. The widespread use of drones has been approved by Congress, starting in 2015. There are of course, many associated privacy and surveillance issues.

In Australia, a drone was (illegally) used during the NSW bushfires in October but may be used legally in the future.

A textbook rental company will make deliveries by drone to customers in Sydney CBD, starting March 2014 – the first commercial use of drones in the world. The textbooks will be lowered on a cable to the customer. Short video:

“OK Google” voice search on Chrome web browser (desktop)

No need to type your search query. No need for a microphone either (currently needed in Chrome). Download the Google Voice Search Hotword plugin and say “OK Google, what is an ocelot?”. It will read out most answers. It can be used for searches, translations, reminders, setting calendar events and getting directions. The service is in beta and currently works only with (not .au), but can still be downloaded in Australia.

Google barges

The 3 mystery barges being built in San Francisco by Google may be “interactive spaces where people learn about new technology”….or they might just be floating retail stores. They will eventually be docked in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York and will be “curious and visually stunning” exhibition centres with fish fin sails. Gotta beat those cool Apple stores somehow…

TED Books

TED Books are interesting short non fiction electronic books, produced once a month by TED Conferences. The books are less than 20 000 words – “long enough to unleash a powerful narrative, but short enough to be read in a single sitting.” Most can be read in less than an hour and are available for Kindle, Nook, iBooks. Price: $1.99 each. The TED Books app is free for the iPad and has audio, video and social features embedded into each book. For a yearly subscription of $14.99, you have access to the entire TED Books archive.


Best books of 2013

Some ideas for holiday reading….

Winners of the 2013 Goodreads Choice Awards

Looking for some good new books to read in the holidays? Check out this list just released by Goodreads, with nearly 2 million votes cast. 20 categories include sci-fi, fantasy, horror, historical fiction, non fiction, memoir & autobiography, graphic novels, picture books, young adult fiction…Something for everyone!

Or try Amazon Editors’ Best Books of 2013:

Free ebook: The curious country

From the Office of the Chief Scientist. A collection of essays about the scientific issues affecting Australians today – health and wellbeing, cybercrime, life on other planets, food and water, energy…..Free download from ANU E Press.

The bone season by Samantha Shannon

This paranormal fantasy book has received a lot of hype and yes there is a lot of info-dumping in the first 50 pages, but it is an intriguing, complex and exciting read. In 2059, many cities are under the control of a security force called Scion. Nineteen year old Paige Mahoney is a clairvoyant who works in the criminal underworld, scouting for information by breaking into the minds of people. When she is captured she is sent to Oxford – now a penal colony controlled by a supernatural race, and there she must become a soldier in their army. It is the first book in the series of 7 and the film rights have been sold.

“[A] dazzingly brainy, witty and bewitching tale of outrageous courage, heroic compassion, transcendent love, and the quest for freedom…the first in a thoughtful fantasy series by a brilliant young writer.” – Booklist

The tournament by Matthew Reilly

Reilly’s new historical mystery set in Constantinople. In 1546 Suleiman the Magnificent, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, invites every king in Europe to send their finest player to compete in a chess tournament to determine the champion of the world. Accompanying the English delegation is young Bess, who narrates the story and witnesses events that will shape her character as the future Queen Elizabeth I. Murder, intrigue, Ivan the Terrible, Michelangelo…sounds intriguing and sure to be a page turner! But where is Scarecrow??

Reilly’s next releases in 2014 are a fantasy novella about trolls and a techno thriller set in China:


Review by Aust. author Jack Heath:


Good films coming up

Some good current and future films that support various curriculum areas….

Hunger Games 2: catching fire

Critics say it is far superior to the first – a darker, more mature film. Katniss and Peeta are targeted by the Capitol after a rebellion in Panem. Director: Francis Lawrence. Stars Jennifer Lawrence. The finale will be in 2 parts – Nov 2014 and Nov 2015. Out now. Review:


Documentary and psychological thriller about the consequences of keeping wild animals in captivity – a powerful and moving film that examines the case of Tilikum the killer whale at SeaWorld, who has been involved in 3 deaths since his capture in 1983. The film presents a solid case for the end of animal exploitation. Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite. Out now.

Mr Pip

Based on the acclaimed novel by Lloyd Jones. Director: Andrew Adamson. Stars Hugh Laurie. Music by Tim Finn. Set in Bougainville in the late 1980s during the dispute between PNG separatists and foreign mining interests. A white man reluctantly accepts the role of community schoolteacher, where much of his curriculum is centred on reading aloud from the novel Great Expectations. The power of its prose has fateful implications for the future of all on the island. “A song of praise for the power (and danger) of literature” – Susan Wyndham, SMH. Out now. The book:

Ender’s game

Based on the acclaimed novel by Orson Scott Card. Director: Gavin Hood. Stars Harrison Ford and Asa Butterfield. A young boy is recruited by a military academy to help save the human race. I saw the film this week – it was quite powerful with lots of themes to discuss – suitable for age 10+ and high school. Opens 5 Dec.

The hobbit: the desolation of Smaug

The 2nd instalment in The hobbit trilogy. Director: Peter Jackson. Stars Martin Freeman. Bilbo, Gandalf and the dwarves continue their quest to reclaim their homeland from Smaug the dragon. They should be all right though, they seem indestructible! Opens 26 Dec.

Saving Mr Banks

Director: John Lee Hancock. Stars Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks. A behind-the-scenes look at the making of Disney’s 1964 film Mary Poppins, revealing the tension between author P.L Travers and Walt Disney, and their differing views on how the novel should be interpreted. Opens 26 Dec.


In 2014 and later…

Mandela: long walk to freedom

Based on the autobiography of Nelson Mandela. Chronicles Mandela’s life from his childhood to his election as president of South Africa. Director: Justin Chadwick. Stars Idris Elba. This will be a powerful and informative film – the trailer looks great. It received an unprecedented 8 minute standing ovation at the Toronto Film Festival. Opens Jan 2014.

12 years a slave

Based on the 1853 book by Solomon Northup and his fight for survival, dignity and freedom. As a free black man from upstate New York, he was abducted in 1841 and sold into slavery in southern USA. After 12 years, he was freed after official intervention and related his story, which was then published. Director: Steve McQueen. Stars: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt. Musical score: Hans Zimmer. Opens 30 Jan.

Review – “An essential look at man’s inhumanity to man”:

Book – public domain, free online, including audiobook:


Based on the popular sci-fi novel by Veronica Roth, part of a trilogy. In post-apocalyptic Chicago, people are divided into 5 factions based on their personalities & virtues. A young woman discovers that she is Divergent and does not fit into any one faction. Can she stop the sinister plot brewing in this “perfect” society? Director: Neil Burger. Stars Shailene Woodley and Kate Winslet. Opens 20 March.

I, Frankenstein

Based on the graphic novel by Kevin Grevioux. Frankenstein’s creature, an intelligent evolved man (?!), is caught up in the modern world in a centuries old war between 2 immortal clans. Written & directed by Stuart Beattie. Stars Aaron Eckhart, Bill Nighy. Opens 27 Feb.


Dark fantasy – the tale of Sleeping Beauty, told from the perspective of the evil sorceress Maleficent. Why did she put the curse on Princess Aurora? Director: Robert Stromberg. Stars Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning. Opens June 2014.

The giver

Based on the dystopian novel by Lois Lowry, winner of the 1994 Newbery Medal. In a seemingly perfect society without conflict or suffering, a young boy is chosen to be the Receiver of Memory and to learn from an elderly man – The Giver. As he learns the truth about his world’s past, he discovers the power of knowledge and faces difficult choices about his future. Director: Phillip Noyce. Stars Jeff Bridges, Katie Holmes, Meryl Streep. Opens late 2014.

The book:


Based on the theories of physicist Kip Thorne – a new intriguing sci-fi film co-written by Christopher & Jonathan Nolan. Director: Christopher Nolan. Stars: Matt Damon, Michael Caine, Jessica Chastain and Anne Hathaway. A group of explorers travel through a wormhole and alternate dimensions, to the furthest reaches of our scientific understanding. Yay more Timey Wimey stuff! Opens Nov 2014.

Into the woods

Musical fantasy film based on the Broadway musical. In the world of Grimm’s fairy tales, a witch decides to teach important lessons to various fairy tale characters. Director: Rob Marshall. Stars Meryl Streep as the witch; Johnny Depp as the Big Bad Wolf, Emily Blunt as The Baker’s Wife. Opens Dec 2014.

Alexander and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day

Based on the classic 1972 book by Judith Viorst. 11 year old Alexander experiences the most terrible day of his life but eventually learns that he is not alone. Stars Steve Carrell and Jennifer Garner. Opens Oct 2014.,_Horrible,_No_Good,_Very_Bad_Day_(film)


Live action film based on the books by Michael Bond about the lovable young bear from Peru who travels to London in search of a home and is adopted by the Brown family. Director: Paul King. Stars Colin Firth (as the voice of Paddington), Peter Capaldi, Julie Walters, Matt Lucas, Jim Broadbent and Nicole Kidman as an evil taxidermist. Opens Dec 2014.