More proof that Americans are a celebrity-obsessed culture: the Casey Anthony trial beat out Osama Bin Laden's death as the most searched news story of 2011 on Bing.
With a full month left in 2011, Microsoft's Bing released its annual top searches of the year list. As ever, it illustrates how much Americans can't get enough of the our celebs.
Some might take solace in the fact that Kim Kardashian dropped from No. 1 in 2010 to No. 2 in 2011 as the most searched person on Bing. Then again, her replacement at the top of the list: Justin Bieber. He was the only male in the top 10 on the list. The other eight, in order, are Jennifer Aniston, Lindsay Lohan, Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Megan Fox, Lady Gaga, and Miley Cyrus.
When it comes to searching for news stories, the trends are no different. That top 10 list included the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which landed at No. 4, as well as the Republican presidential campaign, which came in at No. 9. But Amy Winehouse's death, No. 5, and the trial of Michael Jackson's doctor Conrad Murray, No. 7, beat out the Arab Spring uprising and the Occupy Wall Street movements, neither of which made the news search top 10 tally.
When it comes to sports stars, it's not the ones who've overcome obstacles or achieved great feats in 2011 that drove Web traffic. A key trigger for Bing searchers in the sporting world seemed to be good looks and bad choices. Tennis beauty Maria Sharapova, the fourth-ranked woman in the world, was the top sports figure on Bing. She was followed by disgraced golfer Tiger Woods. The 12th-ranked women's tennis player, Serena Williams landed No. 3, and the sometimes retired National Football League quarterback Brett Favre took the No. 4 spot.
One other surprise: "Xbox" was the most searched consumer electronic item. While the Microsoft video game console is certainly an extremely popular device, it beat out Apple's iPad, which just landed the top spot on Consumer Reports' most likely gift purchases this holiday season. In fact, the popular iPad trailed Amazon's Kindle and Sony's Playstation among Bing searchers.
Turns out the folks at Bing chose to separate searches for "iPad" and "iPad 2" in compiling the data. Those searches landed at No. 5 and No. 7, respectively, on the list. In a statement, Microsoft acknowledged that it, nevertheless, did group searches for "Xbox" and "Xbox 360" together in compiling its data.
"Xbox and Xbox 360 were combined, as were other brand terms (such as Playstation and PS3), to help us package the massive amount of search data," the company said. "iPad and iPad 2 appear separately because both models were available for sale this calendar year."
Updated at 1:40 p.m. PT to include Microsoft's statement regarding iPad and iPad 2 rankings on Bing's most queried consumer electronics products.