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What we search for: rugby, love...and Pippa

By Amelia Wade

New Zealanders were all about their rugby, then "nek minute" Pippa Middleton, the meaning of love and planking became centre of our online attention.

This year's most searched terms on Google are released today - revealing exactly what "makes Kiwis tick".

And apparently that's Sonny Bill Williams, the 1939kj bunless KFC Double Down burger and the rumoured iPhone 5.

Google measures which search topics rocket and which plummet in order to get a sense of the "zeitgeist", or spirit, of each year.

In 2011, the fastest rising search by New Zealanders was perhaps unsurprisingly the Rugby World Cup.

Second on that list was "Japan earthquake" after people hit Google for more information about one of this year's most devastating disasters.

This year, Sonny Bill Williams trumped Justin Bieber in the most popular searched images, proving biceps and ball skills could overcome Bieber fever.

Google New Zealand spokesman Johnny Luu said the global internet search engine was often the first point of call for information.

"These annual search results give us a real snapshot of the big events, memorable moments and growing trends in New Zealand this year."

Also high-up on the fastest-rising search ranking - comprised of search terms that have seen the largest increase in volume over the last year - was "Her Royal Hotness", Pippa Middleton, and the viral "nek minute" video on YouTube.

The California-based internet powerhouse also kept track of the more quirky queries typed into the search engine.

The top searches for "what is?" showed New Zealanders were most interested in learning what "love" is, with "energy", "culture", "Twitter" and "planking" filling out the top five.

Prime Minister John Key's son's contribution to the online craze of planking may well have led to the number of New Zealanders questioning the internet fad.

The top celebrity fixes were predominantly from Hollywood, with Kim Kardashian, Scarlett Johansson and Harry Potter's Emma Watson making the top three.

But Kiwis were also a patriotic bunch, with Ken Ring, Kimbra and Sonny Bill Williams making the fastest-rising people list.

Mr Luu said the year-end zeitgeist was a cultural barometer that showed "what quickened our national heartbeat and drove our curiosity".

"From news and current affairs, to pop culture, sports, cars, and everything in between, search trends reveal what's on our collective minds," he said.

ON KIWIS' MINDS

Fastest rising Google searches in 2011

1 Rugby World Cup

2 Japan Earthquake

3 iPhone 5

4 Pippa Middleton

5 Adele

6 Nek Minute

7 Google Plus

8 Amy Winehouse

9 Steven Tyler

10 Ken Ring

- NZ Herald

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