The death of Boyzone singer Stephen Gately and Microsoft's Bing were the fastest rising search topics on Google's UK site in 2009.
Google's annual "zeitgeist", which analyses the firm's search trends, also revealed that swine flu was the story that dominated UK news headlines.
It was closely followed by the rise of Britain's Got Talent runner-up Susan Boyle and the death of Jade Goody.
Microsoft and Yahoo both said Michael Jackson's death topped their results.
Bing's top trending topics also included Farrah Fawcett and Patrick Swayze, who both died in 2009.
Swine flu was the third most searched for trend, beaten by social network Twitter in second place.
Much of the rest of the top ten is dominated by personalities including US reality TV stars Jon and Kate Gosselin.
The results from Bing are focused on US results, as the company has only recently launched a full UK version of the site.
Figures from Experian Hitwise suggest the search engine's market share in the US is now around 9.5%.
The figures put it well behind market leader Google which has around 70% of the US market. Yahoo is in second place in terms of US market share with around 16%.
New entrants to Yahoo's top ten, compiled from searches made in the US, include Transformers actress Megan Fox, American socialite Kim Kardashian and NASCAR racing.
They replace US President Barack Obama, actresses Miley Cyrus, Jessica Alba, Lindsay Lohan and Angelina Jolie, whose rankings fell.
Another sign of the times was the rise of searches for discount coupons and advice about unemployment.
In the UK, Google dominates the search market with around 90% of the market.
The search giant revealed that the most searched for terms in the UK during 2009 were dominated by web firms.
Searches included Hotmail, eBay, Yahoo and social network Bebo. The fastest rising search queries of the year included the BBC's iPlayer and Bing.
Google also revealed the top trends for each year of the last decade.
Following the millennium the prophet Nostradamus dominated people's searches.
This quickly changed to a mixture of celebrities and entertainment with the following years dominated by the movie Spiderman, Prince Charles, television series Big Brother, singer James Blunt and the death of Australian naturalist Steve Irwin.
2007 was the year of the iPhone whilst 2008 was dominated by people searching for the BBC's catch-up TV service, the iPlayer.