It’s become an annual tradition: toward the end of every year, the major Internet search engines crunch their numbers, compile their statistics, and (it sometimes seems) just make stuff up in an effort to present an overview of Internet users’ search habits for the year. Yahoo and AOL are first out of the gate this year, respectively announcing their 2008 Year in Review and 2008 Year End Hot Searches, respectively.
And what do these lists have in common? Why, that would be Britney. And a few other names you might recognize.
According to Yahoo, the top five overall search terms for 2008 were (in order) “Britney Spears,” “WWE” (World Wrestling Entertainment), “Barack Obama,” “Miley Cyrus,” and “RuneScape” (see what we mean about just making stuff up?), with Jessica Alba, Naruto, Lindsay Lohan, Angelina Jolie, and American Idol rounding out the top ten. This year marks the seventh time Britney has topped out Yahoo’s overall search terms in the last eight years.
AOL categorizes its search summary a little differently, noting that its top search terms for the year were Dictionary, Weather, Games, Maps, Lyrics, University, Movies, Calendar, Zip Codes, and Horoscopes. But Britney topped out AOL’s celebrity searches (followed by Miley Cyrus, Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, and Oprah Winfrey). And AOL’s top news searches? “Presidential election,” Olympics, bailout, “Hurricane Ike”, and unemployment.