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What's On Your Mind?

During its presentation at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, Google projected a scrolling list of what was being searched around the world onto a large screen. It was mesmerizing to watch what people query....

So today, AOL announced what was on our minds, at least as far as search goes, in 2006. It turns out we have weather and words on the brain:

1) Weather
2) Dictionary
3) Dogs
4) American Idol
5) Maps
6) Cars
7) Games
8) Tattoo
9) Horoscope
10) Lyrics

It's unclear to me whether such results say more about us, or more about the personality of the search engine. Lycos, for example, one of the oldest search engines, released its own Top 10 list, and it turns out it has a very different list.

The Top 10 according to Lycos are:
1) Poker
2) MySpace
3) RuneScape
4) Pamela Anderson
5) Paris Hilton
6) Pokemon
7) WWE
8) Golf
9) Spyware
10) Britney Spears

In a political election year when war and bloodshed dominated headlines, the top two news stories searched for on AOL included gas prices and Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin, who was felled by a sting ray. No politician made the list. Instead, immigration was the third most searched, then bird flu, Iraq, and missing college student Natalee Holloway.

According to Lycos, the most searched news term was Iran Nuclear Program. The World Cup ranked second, and the War in Iraq third. Once again, though, no politicians --- not even George W. Bush --- made it into any of their top 10 lists. Gas prices ranked number 9 on Lycos's news search for 2006.

According to AOL search, Paris Hilton was the top celebrity, followed by Chris Brown. Oprah Winfrey rounded out the top three. There's a separate category for celebrity couples, though, the first of which was Brangelina (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie), followed by the now defunct Beyonce and Jay-Z pair. Tomkat (Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes) rang in third, despite their much-publicized Italian wedding.

The World Cup notwithstanding, the top athlete searched for on AOL was NBA star Allen Iverson, followed by Barbaro the racehorse who lost his bid for the triple crown when he broke his ankle. You have to hand it to him, even in retirement Michael Jordan comes up third.

It was another year for consumer electronics, and here the iPod still reigned supreme in its fifth year. The top gadgets included: 1) iPod; 2) Cell Phones; 3) Digital Cameras; 4) TracFone; 5) Playstation 3; 6) Laptops; 7) Xbox 360; 8) GPS; 9) Blackberry; 10) Nintendo.

So there you have it, the world in 2006 as seen through search.

By Yuki Noguchi  |  December 13, 2006; 11:59 AM ET  | Category:  Yuki Noguchi
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