Google and Bing top searches of 2009: Swine flu, Facebook and the king of pop

Google and Bing have revealed their top searches for 2009. Celebrities and swine flu were on our minds, apparently

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
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Google and Bing have revealed the most popular searches by UK and US users in 2009. Dinner-lady singers, celebrity bucket-kickings, ladyboy vampires and porcine poorliness were on our minds this year.

Google UK: Fastest rising news searches

  • 1. Swine Flu
  • 2. Susan Boyle
  • 3. Jade Goody
  • 4. Robert Pattison
  • 5. Rihanna
  • 6. Michael Jackson
  • 7. Google Maps
  • 8. Twitter
  • 9. Stephen Gately
  • 10. Iran

Outside of the news, here's Google's line-up of general searches. While we wonder why anyone would need to Google a site when they clearly already know the name and thus the address, we guess this means Internet users use Google rather than making bookmarks these days.

Google UK: Top searches

  • 1. Facebook
  • 2. BBC
  • 3. YouTube
  • 4. Hotmail
  • 5. Games
  • 6. eBay
  • 7. News
  • 8. Google
  • 9. Yahoo
  • 10. Bebo

This may have something to do with Internet Explorer and Firefox searching Google from their address bars, effectively making Google searches into shortcuts.

Google UK: Fastest rising search queries

  • 1. Facebook login
  • 2. Jogos
  • 3. eBay UK
  • 4. Yahoo Mail
  • 5. Hotmail
  • 6. BBC iPlayer
  • 7. Hi5
  • 8. Stephen Gately
  • 9. Bing
  • 10. Spotify

It's interesting to see Hi5 so popular, having previously been under our radar. With a groundswell of young users, could Hi5 be the next MySpace/Facebook/Twitter? Maybe the kids could tell us what a jogo is. We think it's Portuguese for Flash game, but what do we know, we were born in the 1980s. And as for typing Google into Google, everybody knows that could break the Internet.

Microsoft has also announced its top Bing results. Bing launched in the summer, and in a blog post shilling a new Facebook quiz has revealed its trending topics, which is the name they've nicked off Twitter to describe top searches. Bing has stripped out searches for popular sites, and has been left with:

Bing: Worldwide trending topics

  • 1. Michael Jackson
  • 2. Twitter
  • 3. Swine Flu
  • 4. Stock Market
  • 5. Farrah Fawcett
  • 6. Patrick Swayze
  • 7. Cash for Clunkers
  • 8. Jon and Kate Gosselin
  • 9. Billy Mays
  • 10. Jaycee Dugard

The Bing results are predictably US-centric. Cash for Clunkers refers to the Car Allowance Rebate System -- CARS! See what they did there? -- similar to this country's scrappage scheme. The Gosselins are the stars of a reality show about their eight-kid family, now going through a divorce. Billy Mays was an informercial salesman who hawked products like the Turbo Tiger vacuum, the iTie -- a tie with a pocket in -- and Kaboom! tile cleaner before his death this year. Jaycee Lee Dugard is the California girl who reappeared this year after her abduction in 1991.

For more search shenanigans, find out what Google Suggest suggests about heart attacks, drinking wee and owning Canadians. In the meantime, we can show you how to access the new Google homepage, as pictured above.