Recently, the Bing Search Team revealed the top web searches of 2009 as tracked by the Bing.com search engine. While many technology sites focused on the #2 entry (Twitter), as proof of the microblogging network’s growing influence, I think it’s more telling that half of the top 10 are searches for various celebrities, both living and deceased. Of course, we did have some notable celebrity deaths this year: Michael Jackson (#1) and Farrah Fawcett (#5), to name a couple. But out of everything that took place over the past year, it’s almost odd to see that our thirst for this sort of information is what we turned to the web for and what dominated our web searches.
What about news? Politics? The economy? Well, that’s the other half of the list: swine flu (#3), stock market (#4), and cash for clunkers (#7). I suppose you could count the #10 search for Jaycee Dugard as “news,” but really this is closer to a celebrity search than news. The Dugard story, which referred to the kidnapped girl found after 18 years missing, was exploitatively told and retold by every news outlet on the planet, it seemed. And in that way, it was more like a celeb search than anything else.
Hopefully next year, the caliber and quality of our web searches will improve a bit to go beyond the celeb-obsessed searches of 2009…but we’re not counting on it. In the meantime, why not go search for Large Hadron Collider news or the stimulus package and try to learn something instead!