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Our faves: Britney, eBay and tablets, says Google

Google's list of the most common queries of 2004 gives SCO Group a chance to be named alongside Paris Hilton.

If the term "zeitgeist" is applied as it is defined--an era's intellectual, moral and cultural climate--then it is clear from Google's annual report bearing the same name that the Web is a society dominated by suggestively gyrating blondes.

The 2004 Year-End Google Zeitgeist statement was issued Thursday. It lists the terms most frequently entered into the company's search engine over the past 12 months. And, as was the case last year, pop diva Britney Spears was the most sought-after topic. Closely following Spears was a trifecta of other golden-tressed stars: Paris Hilton, Christina Aguilera and Pamela Anderson, who finished second, third and fourth, respectively.

Rounding out Google's top 10 terms were "chat," "games," "Carmen Electra," "Orlando Bloom," "Harry Potter" and "MP3."

Spears has dominated Google search for some time, though in 2002, brunettes seemed to win out via the elevation of a rival songstress, the oft-dark-haired Jennifer Lopez, who ranked as the No. 1 searched-for woman that year. To her credit, Spears ranked No. 2 in that category. (Google's 2002 Zietgeist archive page doesn't show a list of most popular queries overall.)

According to the report, the technology topics most commonly searched for were desktop wallpaper, peer-to-peer network Kazaa, MP3s, spybot software and Linux. In another sign of world interest in open source, Linux litigant SCO Group was the most frequently searched-for company. The royalty-demanding software outfit outpaced some giants of industry to lead Google's top five, ahead of Johnson & Johnson, ING, GE Aircraft Engines and Fleet.

Technology companies also made a nice showing among consumer brand names, with online auctioneer eBay placing first, ahead of Wal-Mart, Mapquest, Amazon.com and Home Depot.

At Froogle, the company's shopping search site, Apple Computer's iPod digital music player flexed its muscles, leading the most popular consumer electronics queries. Following were digital cameras, MP3s, Microsoft's xBox, Sony's PlayStation 2, portable DVD players, plasma TVs, digital camcorders, PDAs and electric scooters, respectively.

Among computer goods, Froogle tracked tablet PCs as most popular, ahead of computers, laptops, headphones, computer speakers, notebooks, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), Web cameras, wireless speakers and flat-panel monitors.

In the world of entertainment, animated characters dominated Google's list of the most popular TV shows, with "The Simpsons" outpacing the "Pokemon" cast and the kids from "South Park." Humans made a token appearance at No. 4 in the form of the WB's "Charmed." The ubiquitous "SpongeBob SquarePants" rounded out the top five.