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BP Oil Spill Yahoo’s Most Searched-For Item

December 1, 2010

The BP oil spill that dominated so much of the news throughout 2010 also topped Yahoo’s list of the year’s top trends, the Sunnyvale, California search engine announced Wednesday.

According to Yahoo, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill was the most searched for item by users of the website’s search function. That event, which resulted in more than 200 million gallons of petroleum leaking into the ecosystem, has been called the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.

In second place was the World Cup soccer tournament, followed by a trio of female celebrities: singer and Hannah Montana star Miley Cyrus, reality TV star Kim Kardashian, and pop singer Lady Gaga. Finishing sixth was the Apple iPhone, followed by actress Megan Fox, teen idol Justin Bieber, the Fox television show American Idol, and Britney Spears, who topped the list from 2005 through 2008.

“In 2010 consumers watched the BP disaster unfold like a slow-motion horror film and discovered a love for the ‘other’ football,” Vera Chan, senior editor and Web trend analyst for Yahoo, said in a statement Wednesday. “There was no stopping the meteoric rise of artists like Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber. And a favored Disney star, Miley Cyrus, made the up-and-down transition to adulthood, while Britney Spears seemed to get her life back on track and dropped on the Top 10 list again this year.”

In terms of searches from mobile devices, the BP oil spill finished in tenth place. Sporting events dominated Yahoo’s list of mobile searches, with the NFL finishing in the top spot, the NBA in fifth, the World Cup in sixth, and the Winter Olympics in ninth. Rounding out the top ten were Lady Gaga (#2), R&B artist Rihanna (#3), actress Sandra Bullock (#4), Justin Bieber (#7) and American Idol (#8).

Unemployment topped the search engine’s list of financial searches, while the World Cup was the most highly sought after sporting event in the eyes of Yahoo users. The question most users wanted the answer to was how to tie a tie, while chicken recipes were the top trending food-related searches and teen pregnancy topped the health-related queries.

According to AP Technology Writer Michael Liedtke, “Bing and AOL released their top searches earlier this week, with reality TV star Kim Kardashian topping Bing’s list and golfer Tiger Woods leading the pack of celebrities at AOL. Kardashian came in fourth on Yahoo’s list and seventh in AOL’s celebrity rankings; Woods was third on Bing and didn’t appear among Yahoo’s Top 10.”

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