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Last Updated: Sunday, 4 January, 2004, 12:17 GMT
Rumours fuel top Google searches
Britney Spears
Britney Spears came top of the global searches
When it came to satisfying the British hunger for gossip and rumour, the web was the place to go in 2003, according to Google.

The search site has published its 2003 "zeitgeist", which gives a flavour of what people looked for on the net.

Prince Charles was the top search term in the UK, fuelled by rumours which the British press were banned from reporting on in detail.

Globally, Britney Spears led the pack ahead of boy wizard Harry Potter.

Pooh in court

Michael Jackson, Winnie the Pooh and rugby star Jonny Wilkinson also featured in the UK top 10 searches, along with newcomers Paris Hilton and old favourites The Simpsons and David Beckham.

The honey-loving bear has been the subject of a drawn-out legal battle over merchandising rights in 2003.

1 - Prince Charles
2 - Eastenders
3 - Winnie the Pooh
4 - Jonny Wilkinson
5 - Easyjet
6 - David Beckham
7 - Michael Jackson
8 - 2 Fast 2 Furious
9 - Paris Hilton
10 - The Simpsons
OJ Simpson's lawyer, Johnnie Cochran, who is the US's most high-profile celebrity lawyer, was hired in December by the Slesinger family who is trying to sue Walt Disney.

The most popular queries on a global scale included Britney, Harry Potter and the Matrix, with news stories about Iraq proving unsurprisingly popular too.

When it came to looking for pictures, the most popular men globally were Eminem, followed by David Beckham and a fresh face was added to the list, in the form of Orlando Bloom.

The top three women remained unchanged from 2002, with Britney leading Jennifer Lopez and Pamela Anderson in the hunt for online images. Kylie Minogue was nowhere to be seen in the top 10 however.

Google's list is based on 55 billion searches carried out by users in the year and is supposed to give an indication of celebrity, sport and popular culture trends.

1 - Britney Spears
2 - Harry Potter
3 - Matrix
4 - Shakira
5 - David Beckham
6 - 50 cent
7 - Iraq
8 - Lord of the Rings
9 - Kobe Bryant
10 - Tour de France
In a similar list published by search engine Yahoo earlier this week, file-sharing program Kazaa topped was the most searched-for item amongst its users.

Although Kazaa is absent from Google's list, the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) was the fifth highest news query globally.

Throughout the year, the RIAA has attempted to take legal steps to clamp down on music piracy and illegal file-swapping.

Finding what you want on the web
02 Jan 04  |  Technology
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30 Dec 03  |  Technology
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07 Dec 03  |  Americas
OJ's lawyer hired in Pooh battle
01 Dec 03  |  Business
Google expands operation to India
12 Dec 03  |  South Asia
Is Google good for you?
19 Dec 03  |  Technology

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