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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 December 2005, 11:17 GMT
Google taps into search patterns
Michael Jackson and sister Janet, AP
Janet Jackson was the top search term of 2005
Janet Jackson has topped the list of most searched terms on Google in 2005.

Ms Jackson's name was top query in the search giant's annual summary of trends on what people have been looking for on the internet.

Hurricanes, the London bombings, iPods and Britney Spears' pregnancy all featured in the round-up, revealing the broad interests of Google users.

The results show how net use is maturing and how it has become more than a place people only go to shop.

Long list

Although Ms Jackson's much publicised "wardrobe malfunction" occurred at the 2004 Superbowl, the Google analysis shows that her name was the most searched for term over the last 12 months.

Her popularity even topped that of her brother Michael, despite the fact that his legal troubles were played out over many months of 2005.

Also on the list of top searches in 2005 was Britney Spears whose pregnancy managed to keep her in the news. Google reported huge spikes of interest in Ms Spears coinciding with confirmation of her pregnancy and the September birth of her son Sean.

Britney was also the top search term on Yahoo. Its top 10 was dominated by pop culture, featuring stars such as 50 Cent, Mariah Carey and Eminem.

Evacuation after Katrina
1: Janet Jackson
2: Hurricane Katrina
3: Tsunami
4: Xbox 360
5: Brad Pitt
6: Michael Jackson
7: American Idol
8: Britney Spears
9: Angelina Jolie
10: Harry Potter
Digital music was also a notable feature in the list of terms that people looked for on Google's Froogle shopping site.

Four of the phrases in the top 10 were iPod related, reflecting the huge interest in Apple's sleek music player and downloadable music in general.

But Google's most popular list was not entirely composed of pop singers and celebrities. Also in the list of top terms were 2005's natural disasters.

In a category called Nature, Google noted spikes of sustained interest in searches about the Asian tsunami which struck in late December 2004, Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath in the US, and the earthquake in Kashmir.

Man-made catastrophes also caused search surges. Google tracked which sites people turned to in July when attackers placed bombs on London tube trains and a bus.

By far the most popular news site searched for immediately after the bombings on 7 and 21 July was the BBC News website, eclipsing CNN.

Collaborative tool

One feature of the London bombings and many of the other catastrophes that befell the world in 2005 was the use made of web journals or blogs and picture storing sites to give insight into events as they unfolded.

Many of the images snapped by survivors in the wake of many catastrophes were used by mainstream news outlets to illustrate events.

This interest in using the web less as a shop and more as a collaborative tool to share images and experiences is also reflected in the terms that Google said interest in which had grown the most.

Social networking site MySpace topped the list of top-gaining terms. Also in the list was the Wikipedia collaborative encylclopedia, the Orkut community site and online role-playing game World of Warcraft.

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