MJ, Facebook top Google, Yahoo, AOL search lists

An economic crisis that continues to grip much of the world and the H1N1 pandemic that has swept around the globe couldn't keep the self-titled King of Pop from attracting the most attention from online searchers.

Google, AOL and Yahoo today all released their lists of the top search terms for 2009 and Michael Jackson , the famed pop singer and notorious cultural icon whose June 25 death captured the world's attention, topped the lists of all three three search sites.

"By exploring 2009's popular and fastest rising search terms, we're able to share a glimpse into what's been on the mind of the global community this year," wrote Marissa Mayer , Google's vice president of Search Products and User Experience, in a blog post. "So what has captivated the minds of searchers around the world this year? As millions of fans said goodbye to the King of Pop, Michael Jackson led the list of our top 10 fastest rising queries across the globe."

Although Google, Yahoo and AOL all rank Jackson as their most searched term, the lists of each are quite different after that.

AOL and Yahoo list popular search terms like '70s icon Farrah Fawcett, who also died this year, socialite Kim Kardashian, singer Rihanna and actress Megan Fox. Google's list includes searches seeking information on more high tech topics.

On the Google list, Michael Jackson was followed by Facebook . The top 10 Google search terms also included Twitter , Windows 7 and Tuenti, which is a Madrid-based, invitation only social networking site that some call the Spanish Facebook.

"This year's Zeitgeist also confirms that the social web is alive and well," wrote Mayer. "In a sweeping confirmation of the Web's ability to connect us, both Facebook and the Spanish social-networking site Tuenti appeared on the fastest rising searches at number two and number three respectively. Twitter also made our global list for the first time at number five -- undoubtedly propelled by celebrity tweeters from Ashton Kutcher to Miley Cyrus."

Google also released a list of top 2008 search terms that fell markedly in 2009. That list includes now-President Barack Obama, singer Amy Winehouse, the Nintendo game Wii and social networking site Bebo.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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