MUMBAI: Britney Spears, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), Barack Obama and Miley Cyrus topped the overall searches during the year, according to Yahoo! data from its users.
Yahoo! announced yesterday the most popular searches, themes, and trends as part of its 2008 Year in Review (yearinreview.yahoo.com), as told through the billions of searches conducted by millions of the online major's users around the globe every month.
Yahoo! Web Life editor Heather Cabot says, "Every day, people turn to the web to learn more about the world around them. Their searches reveal which news events, personalities and issues made an impact in 2008.
"This year people were captivated by the historic US Presidential election and Olympic triumphs. They also closely followed every facet of the economic downturn and enjoyed a little escapism by devouring celebrity gossip and delving into online video games."
The Yahoo! 2008 Year in Review not only presents the top ten searches, but overall themes and popular trends that bubbled to the surface, including the economy, politicians, news stories, Olympians, rising celebrities, influential women, and notable deaths.
Also included in this year's review are additional top tens in select areas throughout Yahoo! such as Yahoo! Food, Shine, Tech, Green, Shopping, Travel, Games, Movies, Music, Local, Upcoming, Hot Jobs, most Buzzed-Up stories and clicked-on stories from yahoo.com.
Spears has been the most popular search term and person for seven out of eight years. In 2008, she made a comeback with a new album, three MTV Music Awards, a sitcom guest star role and documentary on her rise, fall and career comeback.
Obama was the second most searched for person in 2008. Headlines of his election victory received the most clicks than any other story on yahoo.com this year, and he was the third most searched term overall. Obama soared up the search ranks tremendously as the election campaign moved forward with consumers using Yahoo! Search to get informed, learn more about him and decide how to vote in this critically important election.
This year also marked the coming out party for Cyrus, who discarded her Disney persona of Hannah Montana and launched her own album under her real name to make the top five. Jessica Alba's wedding and new baby spurred additional interest for her this year. With success at the box office and new baby pictures, Angelina Jolie continues to be in the public spotlight. Popular entertainment properties also were in demand, including wrestling (WWE), video games (RuneScape), anime (Naruto) and television (American Idol).
The top news stories searched for were Hurricanes, Caylee and Casey Anthony, Election 2008 and Pakistan. Natural disasters affected virtually every corner of the planet. Hurricanes Gustav and Ike devastated the southern US and the Caribbean. The fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan continued to be a focus throughout the year.
But a few surprises to this list included the human interest stories that captivated the curiosity of the country, such as Caylee Anthony, a missing Florida toddler; the pregnant man who allegedly gave birth to a baby girl; and Patrick Swayze's battle against cancer.
The top Olympian searches were Michael Phelps, Leryn Franco, Serena Williams, Kobe Bryant and Shawn Johnson. Yahoo! notes that a worldwide audience couldn't get enough of the Olympics, hungrily hunting down every detail on the characters playing out sports' most marvelously unscripted drama. The Olympics was a nightly epic story, in which Phelps played the ideal leading man, with the mystery of his estranged father breaking the list of most clicked on stories of yahoo.com.
The top rising celebrity searches were Miley Cyrus, Vanessa Anne Hudgens, Chris Brown, Jonas Brothers, Rihanna and Taylor Swift. In 2008, tabloid staples cleaned up their acts due to court-ordered conservatorships (Britney Spears), pledges of sobriety (Lindsay Lohan), and motherhood (Nicole Richie). As a result, celebrity publications and bloggers shifted their focus to a new, younger set of headline makers, the New Brat Pack. Like their 1980s counterparts, the New Brat Pack celebs appear in each other's movies, music videos and social circles.
They're all young (21 and under), popular and major money makers. And, their youth subjects them to greater public scrutiny.Disney proteges are coming into their own with huge success, including Miley Cyrus, Vanessa Hudgens, the Jonas Brothers and Zac Efron.
The top searches for influential women were Angelina Jolie, Sarah Palin, Oprah, Hillary Clinton and Gina Carano.
The top searches for final farewells were Heath Ledger, Bernie Mac, Paul Newman, Randy Pausch, George Carlin and Estelle Getty. 2008 began with the unexpected death of actor Heath Ledger. Ledger's death launched the world into a stunned Search frenzy over the actor who showed promise of being a Hollywood great. His passing renewed searches for 25-year-old Brad Renfro, a child actor who died in a heroin overdose a week earlier.