The Japan Earthquake, Hurricane Irene and Steve Jobs death were among the top search trends on search engine Ask.com in this year.
“How big was the earthquake in Japan?” was the top news question and “Will Obama get re-elected?” was the top political question on Ask.com in the US.
Meanwhile, in the UK Pippa Middleton was named one of this year’s internet search stars, alongside Ryan Giggs and Steve Jobs.
The top news questions varied from natural disasters to the Royal Wedding to the Occupy Wall Street movement to technology.
“Because people come to Ask with specific questions we are uniquely able to understand what’s on consumers’ minds at any given moment, be it pop culture or politics,” said Ask.com CEO, Doug Leeds, in a press release. “For the first time, we’re looking at the year’s top questions to not only reflect on 2011, but also predict the newsmakers of 2012.”
Ask also released its top nine (or 10) predictions for next year.
What were the top 10 news searches this year?
1) Japan Earthquake & Tsunami – “How big was the earthquake in Japan?”
2) Hurricane Irene – “What caused Hurricane Irene?”
3) Steve Jobs – “How much was Steve Jobs worth?”
4) Royal Wedding – “What did William whisper to Kate on the balcony?”
5) Occupy Wall Street – “Who started Occupy Wall Street?”
6) iPhone – “When will Apple release the iPhone 5?”
7) Osama bin Laden – “Who killed bin Laden?”
8) Casey Anthony – “Where is Casey Anthony hiding?”
9) 9/11 10-year anniversary – “What is happening on the 10th anniversary of 9/11?”
10) Amy Winehouse – “How did Amy Winehouse die?”
Top 10 political searches and questions:
1) President Barack Obama – “Will Obama get re-elected?”
2) Mitt Romney – “What is Mitt Romney’s religion?”
3) Sarah Palin – “Is Sarah Palin running for president?”
4) Michele Bachmann – “Is Michele Bachmann crazy?”
5) Anthony Weiner – “Where can I find Anthony Weiner’s Twitter pics?”
6) Arnold Schwarzenegger – “Who was Arnold’s mistress?”
7) Gay Marriage – “Which states allow gay marriage?”
8) Iraq Withdrawal – “When will the troops come home?”
9) Iowa Caucus – “When is the Iowa caucus?”
10) Muammar Gadhafi – “Who will lead Libya after Gadhafi?”
The Q&A site analysed its 60 million monthly queries to find the moments during the year which sparked huge, sudden surges among UK internet users wanting answers.
Ask Jeeves said Middleton, who was chief bridesmaid at her sister Kate’s wedding to Prince William which took place in April this year, was one of the most searched for names as web users sought out pictures, video clips and even more information about her after the wedding was screened on TV.
Among other internet stars of 2011 was Manchester United’s Ryan Giggs, who was named on Twitter as the footballer who took out a super injunction to stop details of an extra-marital affair being published. Liberal Democrat John Hemming subsequently used parliamentary privilege to identify him in parliament.
James Corden’s alter ego Smithy from TV show Gavin and Stacey also proved popular following his Comic Relief sketch in March that featured plenty of celebrities and sporting stars along with former Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Meanwhile singer Amy Winehouse and former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who both tragically passed away this year, were also among the list of most searched celebrities on the web in 2011.
“This data provides a snapshot of what Britain suddenly became interested in during the year. We constantly have high levels of searches for major household names and general events like the recession but this is looking at individual search stars of 2011” said Oliver Hill, Managing Director of Ask Jeeves.
“It’s a mixed bunch from reality TV to royalty, comedy sketches to cult video clips and sport to showbiz.”