Yo! Yo! Honey Singh was to 2012 what Dhanush was to 2011.

2012 will probably go down as the year of “Gangnam Style”. The Korean pop sensation’s video didn’t just go viral, it went epidemic. In the process, it became the first video to cross the billion mark in total views on YouTube and spawned parodies from sportspersons, artists and academics.

For Indian audiences however, the gyrations of the chubby Korean were trumped by the provocative lyrics of rapper Yo! Yo! Honey Singh’s Brown Rang. Unlike previous year’s chart busting “Why This Kolaveri Di”, Honey Singh isn’t an internet aberration. With two appearances on the list (“High Heels” by Jaz Dhami ft. Yo! Yo! Honey Singh in the fourth place) his imprint on the Indian psyche is writ large.

The rest of the “trending YouTube videos in India” list is populated, predictably, by Bollywood. “Mashallah” from “Ek Tha Tiger”, “Tum Hi Ho Bandhu” from “Cocktail”, “Saans” from “Jab Tak Hai Jaan” and “Chinta Ta Ta Chita Chita” from “Rowdy Rathore” occupy the third, fifth, seventh and tenth positions respectively. “Jab Tak Hai Jaan” emerged the most watched film trailer of the year as well. Interestingly, the list doesn’t refer to total views. It takes a composite view of a video, looking at shares, searches, likes and comments to identify the trending videos.

In the list of most watched TV shows, there are few surprises. Sony Entertainment Television dominates the list, with shows like “Bade Acche Lagte Hai”, “Kahani Comedy Circus Ki” and “CID” among others on it. But the Indian YouTube user also looked outwards for entertainment; the YouTube only serials “Movie Night”, featuring film criticism by Jonathan Paula, and sketch comedy series “Totally Sketch Originals”, at the seventh and eighth positions respectively, prove precisely this.

The Google India Zeitgeist

While YouTube reflects only the trends in videos among netizens, a more holistic map of the nation’s mind emerges if one looks at the information released by its holding company Google Inc.

The Google India Zeitgeist 2012 reflects the most searched items across a variety of categories, including actors, sportspersons, and news among others.

The most searched news item was Sensex, reflecting the Indian netizen’s concern with the global economic turmoil. Death also played on the mind of the Indians, with Rajesh Khanna and Vilasrao Deshmukh also featuring in the list of most searched news items. Exams loomed large on the Indian psyche, with “IBPS” and “GATE Exams” finishing ahead, notably, of Sunny Leone.

These developments aside, the most interesting trend was the routing of searches through mobile devices. According to Rajan Anandan, VP and managing director — sales and operations, Google India, “India’s next 150-180 million Internet users will access the Internet through mobile devices.”

“This means that the information that these users will look for will need to be more local and meaningful…” he added. Maybe our newspapers will take note.