Michael Jackson, who passed away from a drug overdose this year on June 25, was the top search term on Google and Yahoo in 2009, perhaps fitting for the king of pop music. Query volume about Jackson even crashed Google.
Google's Zeitgeist report, which aims to capture what users searched for over the course of a year, charted the fastest-rising search queries on the leading search engine. Social networking was the dominant query theme, with three of the top five coming in that category.
Google's fastest rising queries around the world started with Jackson, followed by social network Facebook, Spanish social network tuenti, microblog service Twitter, and sanalika.
Vampire film "New Moon," the follow-up to its predecessor "Twilight" in the same-named series took No. 6, while pop star Lady Gaga notched No. 7. Google rival Microsoft captured the eighth spot for Windows 7, while dantri.comvn and torpedo gratis rounded out the top 10 fastest rising searches.
In the U.S., fastest rising search queries were Twitter, Michael Jackson, Facebook, Internet TV site Hulu, social network hi5, TV show glee, indie film Paranormal Activity, deceased actresses Natasha Richardson and Farrah Fawcett, and Lady Gaga.
Swine flu was searched even more than the inauguration of President Obama in the U.S., according to Marissa Mayer, who presides over the list as the vice president of search products and user experience for Google.
Not to be outdone, Yahoo also released its list of top 10 searches.
Following Michael Jackson were The Twilight Saga, WWE, actress Megan Fox and pop star Britney Spears, who Jackson booted from the top 2008 perch on Yahoo. Japanese anime series Naruto, American Idol, Kim Kardashian, NASCAR and Web-based online game RuneScape rounded out the top 10.
"We saw consumers escape to the Web hoping to pursue news and their guilty pleasures: vampires, political implosions, how to moonwalk - you name it, people went online to find it," said Yahoo's Vera Chan, search trend analyst.
However, Yahoo is making its top search listing, part of a broader year-in-review, more interesting for users.
Not only does it provide this looking back video to capture the popular searches of 2009, but Yahoo users can tweet their own top moments of 2009 and have an opportunity to win a 32 gigabyte iPod touch with a $100 iTunes gift card each day of the month from Dec. 1 through Dec. 31.
To participate, users must have a Twitter account and tweet their favorite moments of 2009. Any tweet must contain the hashtag #myyearyahoo.
No. 3 search player Microsoft was not to be outdone. While Google and Yahoo jousted for top search query attention Dec. 1, the company released top trending 2009 queries for its Bing search engine Nov. 30.
On Bing, Jackson again lead the way, followed by Twitter, swine flu, stock market, Farrah Fawcett, deceased actor Patrick Swayze, Cash for Clunkers, Jon and Kate Gosselin, Billy Mays and Jaycee Dugard.