America's obsession with celebrities like Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga will never go away, but at least this year we made room for more pressing matters, like the BP oil spill, according to Yahoo's year-end search review.
Every winter, Yahoo tugs on our sleeve and hands over a list of the year's hottest searches. Even though Yahoo isn't at the top of the search game -- by some measurements it's behind Bing as well as Google - the results tend to be more culture and news-oriented than Google's yearly Zeitgeist results, which aren't available for 2010 yet.
[ See also: Move over Google Labs...Yahoo! is here ]
Here's a look at the hottest searches in 2010, according to Yahoo, plus a list of the most searched-for gadgets:
1. BP Oil Spill: Not only was this a major, drawn-out story, but it had a generally agreed-upon search term and a "spill cam" to keep people coming back.
2. World Cup: A huge event that also spurred interest in South African culture and, of course, the dreaded vuvuzela. Searches related to the Olympics weren't nearly as popular.
3. Miley Cyrus: As the Disney-backed pop star entered adulthood, fans were curious to see how she'd make the transition, explains Vera Chan, senior editor and Web trend analyst for Yahoo.
4. Kim Kardashian: She's taken Paris Hilton's place as the "celebutante" du jour, and is much more savvy about building a brand around herself, Chan notes.
7. Megan Fox: If she were just another sultry movie star, she'd be one among many, but Fox knows how to play the media and keep herself in the news with bombshell quotes and anecdotes.
8. Justin Bieber: This should be no surprise if you ever looked at Twitter's trending topics. Chan refers to Bieber as a "web-spun hero," becoming a megastar this year without movie roles or the crutch of a Disney show.
9. American Idol: The sing-off show isn't always on Yahoo's list, but this year provided new intrigue with the departure of Simon Cowell, the announcement of two new judges and complaints over lackluster performers.
10. Britney Spears: Britney's held a spot on the list throughout the 10 years that Yahoo's been putting it together, Chan said. People love a trainwreck -- and the suspense of whether she can get back on track.
And now the top 10 gadget searches of 2010:
1. iPad: A new kind of gadget from a popular tech company. No surprise that a lot of people were curious.
2. iPhone 4: While general iPhone searches led the way in Yahoo's main list, the iPhone 4 in particular didn't draw as many searches as its larger iOS cousin.
3. Nintendo Wii: Despite being on the decline now, the Wii was still the most searched-for game console.
5. Motorola Droid: Even if it wasn't searched for as often as the iPhone, the fact that a year-old phone is fifth on the list speaks volumes about its impact.
7. Kindle: 2010 was the year that e-readers went mainstream, thanks in large part to a price war between Amazon and Barnes & Noble. That seems to have settled down after the 3rd-generation Kindle arrived.
8. iPod Touch: This year's model didn't get a dramatic redesign, but it did add Facetime and video recording. Still a hot product.
9. Nook: While not as popular in search as Amazon's Kindle, the visibility at Barnes & Noble stores had to make people curious.
10. TiVo: The arrival of TiVo Premiere probably boosted the profile of the DVR, even in the face of competition from cable and satellite providers.
This story, "Yahoo's Top Searches of 2010" was originally published by PCWorld.