If it makes you feel any better about what Americans are interested in, the presidential election was the most searched-for news topic on AOL, beating out Janet Jackson's Super Bowl "flash," which ranked fourth in the news category. In technology, cellular phones topped the gadgets and devices category, followed by digital cameras and MP3 players, including the iPod. "Spyware" was the 43rd most searched-for word overall.
"The most searched-for topics online are a way to gauge what Americans want to know more about," said Gerry Campbell, vice president and general manager of AOL Search and Navigation. "Looking at the top year-end search terms from AOL Search gives us a unique view of what was top-of-mind for our members throughout the year."
Some search highlights that coincided with "hot" trends:
The low-carb craze replaced the no-carb craze, as "South Beach Diet" became the No. 1 search term for dieters. The Atkins Diet topped the list last year.
"Ugg boots" were the top fashion trend, and tattoos were hot as well, with tribal and butterfly designs the most popular.
Cooking remained decidedly old fashioned, with recipes for cookies (not the ones on your computer) and Crock-Pots topping the recipes category.
The highest-ranked movies were "Harry Potter," "The Passion of the Christ" and "Lord of the Rings," while the top television shows were "American Idol," "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and "Survivor." The most searched-for male overall was musician Usher.
Paris Hilton leapfrogged Janet Jackson among most searched-for people, within striking distance of Spears.
AOL's "2004 Search Scrapbook," which takes a look at the top searches, via categories and head-to-head matchups, can be found on AOL's Web site.