BP oil spill, Lady Gaga top Yahoo's 2010 search list

Forget the economy and politics, searchers focus on Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian

What did we go online to search for the most in 2010?

We were most interested in finding information on BP's devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, according to Yahoo , which today released its annual list of its top searches for the year. People went online in droves to search for where to watch the live, online feed of the oil leak , efforts to cap the leak and to get information about the spill's environmental impact.

After that, the list gets decidedly more light-hearted with the World Cup and teenage pop star Miley Cyrus coming in respectively at numbers 2 and 3 on the Yahoo list.

Rounding out the top five were reality-TV star Kim Kardashian and pop sensation Lady Gaga.

Also on the top 10 list (in order) were : the AppleiPhone , actress Megan Fox, teen heart throb Justin Bieber, the TV show American Idol, and pop star Britney Spears.

"In 2010, consumers watched the BP disaster unfold like a slow-motion horror film and discovered a love for the 'other' football," said Vera Chan, senior editor and Web trend analyst for Yahoo, in a statement. "There was no stopping the meteoric rise of artists like Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber. And a favored Disney star, Miley Cyrus, made the up-and-down transition to adulthood, while Britney Spears seemed to get her life back on track and dropped on the Top 10 list again this year."

Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group, said he was surprised by what was and wasn't on the top 10 list.

"The list says a lot about both 2010, the Internet these days and people using it," Olds said. "The only hard news story on the list is the BP oil spill. This should be somewhat surprising since 2010 was a pretty eventful year, chock full of big news. I can see why the World Cup is on the list ... and the same thing with the iPhone."

Olds was quick to point out that some obvious omissions on the list include the global economic crisis , which he said is arguably the biggest story of the last decad, affecting millions of people. He also was surprised that neither the earthquake in Haiti, nor the mid-term elections in the U.S. made the list.

"The fact that eight out of 10 top searches on Yahoo are about celebrities or pseudo celebs is a splash of frigid water in the face of anyone who sees the Internet as primarily a serious tool for information dissemination," Olds added. "People in that camp have to face the fact that the vast majority of users are slack-jawed yokels whose biggest challenge each day is to figure out what TV show they're going to watch that afternoon."

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com .

Read more about internet search in Computerworld's Internet Search Topic Center.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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