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Bing, Google, Yahoo Searches Sought Michael Jackson

Celebrities and entertainment figured prominently in the year's top searches.

If 2009 has a "zeitgeist," or spirit of the times, the leading contender for the title is deceased pop star Michael Jackson, who topped Bing's, Google's and Yahoo's lists of top searches for the year.

"Michael Jackson" is the only search term to appear on all three search engine's top 10 lists, and at the top of the three lists no less.

"Twitter" is the only other term to show up on more than one top 10 list: It ranks second on Bing's list and fourth on Google's list.

The other top 10 terms differ substantially, calling into question the notion of a spirit of the times.

In a blog post, Google VP of search and user experience Marissa Mayer said, "It's because of curious searchers like you and the billions of searches you do throughout the year, that our annual Zeitgeist has become an insightful look into a global mindset."

But as can be seen from the three top 10 lists, Google's snapshot of search interest is considerably more global than that of Bing or Yahoo.

Three of Google's top search terms are related to Web sites that are popular in France and Spain, Turkey, and Vietnam.

Searches submitted to Microsoft's Bing and Yahoo Search on the other hand have a distinctly American flavor. Six of the Bing top 10 are U.S. celebrities or newsmakers. Four of the Yahoo top 10 fit that description while three other search terms are expressions of interest in popular entertainment properties.

Only two of the Google top 10 are famous individuals.

Sadly for Microsoft and Yahoo, Google's list is increasingly the only one that matters.

According to Net Applications, Google continued to gain global market share in November, while both Bing and Yahoo lost market share. Google rose from 84.53% in October to 84.91% in November. Bing slipped from 3.49% to 3.26% and Yahoo dropped from 6.68% to 6.22% during the same period.

Here are the the top 10 lists themselves:

Bing Top Search Terms

1) Michael Jackson 2) Twitter 3) Swine Flu 4) Stock Market 5) Farrah Fawcett 6) Patrick Swayze 7) Cash for Clunkers 8) Jon and Kate Gosselin 9) Billy Mays 10) Jaycee Dugard

Google Top Search Terms

1) Michael Jackson 2) Facebook 3) Tuenti 4) Twitter 5) Sanalika 6) New Moon 7) Lady Gaga 8) Windows 7 9) 10) Torpedo Gratis

Yahoo Top Search Terms

1) Michael Jackson 2) Twilight 3) WWE 4) Megan Fox 5) Britney Spears 6) Naruto 7) American Idol 8) Kim Kardashian 9) NASCAR 10) Runescape

InformationWeek Analytics is conducting a survey on the state of enterprise messaging. Answer our survey by Friday, Dec. 4, and be eligible to win an iPod Touch. Click here to take part.

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