Do you really need more than one guess to name the top search term on Yahoo in 2009? • It was Michael Jackson, whose stunning death on June 25 and resulting discussions over funeral arrangements and legacy made him the biggest star on the popular Internet search engine this year. • The self-proclaimed King of Pop ended singer Britney Spears' four-year reign atop Yahoo's search rankings. • The list released last week is meant to provide a reading on our cultural pulse. It may not be the best barometer, given that Yahoo ranks a distant second to Google in Internet search. (Google plans to release its own list of popular searches later this month.) • Jackson will probably rank high on Google, too. So many inquiries poured in about Jackson within the first few hours of his death that part of Google's Web site interpreted the fusillade as an automated attack. • As usual, people using Yahoo's search engine in 2009 seemed to be most interested in celebrities and other diversions, even against the sobering backdrop of the worst recession in 70 years. • "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 Vera Chan, a Yahoo search trend analyst. • Here's a look at the top 5 search terms in various categories for the year. Compiled from Times wires
Cash for Clunkers
CELEBRITY DEATH SEARCHES
Jon & Kate Gosselin
Kris Allen & Adam Lambert
Compiled by Times staff writer Steve Spears. This report contains material from the Associated Press.