Each year here at Search Engine Watch, we wait with bated breath for the top searched lists to come out. Sometimes insightful and often hilarious, the lists give an overview of the topics and terms on the minds of millions in the U.S. and beyond. We've already looked at the top searches on Bing and AOL in 2011.
Ask.com’s top questions lists reveal the most commonly searched terms and corresponding questions about celebrities, news, and politics. The format this year is slightly different from last; in 2010, they offered the most popular questions overall, with answers. For 2011, they’ve paired search terms with questions.
This year, they’ve also released their predictions for the top headlines in 2012. Without further ado, here are the top search terms and questions of 2011, according to Ask.com.
Top Celebrity Search Terms and Questions
From Kim Kardashian’s fairy-tale-wedding-72-day-marriage-ugly-split whirlwind romance to Lady Gaga’s facial implants, here are the celebrity questions most on the minds of Americans this year:
- Kim Kardashian: Was Kim Kardashian's wedding fake?
- Justin Bieber: Is Justin Bieber going to be a dad?
- Lady Gaga: Are Lady Gaga's face implants real?
- Beyonce: Did Beyonce fake a baby bump?
- Kate Middleton: Who made Kate Middleton's wedding dress?
- Ashton Kutcher: Did Ashton cheat?
- Michael Jackson: Was Michael Jackson murdered?
- Selena Gomez: Is Selena Gomez pregnant?
- Lindsay Lohan: Is Lindsay Lohan going to jail?
- Charlie Sheen: What happened to Charlie Sheen's teeth?
Top News Search Terms and Questions
The top news list seems to demonstrate further our fascination with the lives of others, with four of the top 10 news searches involving famous people:
- Earthquake in Japan: How big was the earthquake in Japan?
- Hurricane Irene: What caused Hurricane Irene?
- Steve Jobs: How much was Steve Jobs worth?
- Royal Wedding: What did William whisper to Kate on the balcony?
- Occupy Wall Street: Who started Occupy Wall Street?
- iPhone: When will Apple release the iPhone 5?
- Osama Bin Laden: Who killed Bin Laden?
- Casey Anthony: Where is Casey Anthony hiding?
- 10th Anniversary of September 11: What is happening on the 10th anniversary of 9/11?
- Amy Winehouse: How did Amy Winehouse die?
Top Political Searches and Questions
While a few of the top political questions have serious overtones, others show just how silly the state of American politics became throughout the year; see questions 4, 5 & 6.
- Barack Obama: Will Obama get re-elected?
- Mitt Romney: What is Mitt Romney's religion?
- Sarah Palin: Is Sarah Palin running for president?
- Michele Bachmann: Is Michele Bachmann crazy?
- Anthony Weiner: Where can I find Anthony Weiner's Twitter pics?
- Arnold Schwarzenegger: Who was Arnold's mistress?
- Gay Marriage: Which states allow gay marriage?
- Withdrawal from Iraq: When will the troops come home?
- Iowa Caucus: When is the Iowa caucus?
- Muammar Ghadafi: Who will lead Libya after Ghadafi?
Ask’s Top Headlines Predictions for 2012
For the first time, Ask.com went out on a limb and attempted to predict the news stories that will dominate the headlines in the year ahead, based on this year’s trending topics. Here are their predictions:
- George Clooney wins his second and third Academy Award
- Dr. Oz surpasses Dr. Phil in ratings in a post-Oprah world
- Green Bay Packers win Super Bowl second year in a row
- McDonald's adds the McRib to its permanent menu
- New York reclaims its spot as top the US travel destination from 2011 leader Orlando
- Breakout star of 2011, Nicki Minaj, leapfrogs pop icon Katy Perry in album sales
- Pippa jumps onto the list of top ten baby names of the year
- Facebook goes public with world's largest IPO
- Tiger Woods retires from golf
- And, finally…will the world end in 2012? Spoiler alert! IT WON'T
What do you think, is Tiger Woods likely to retire in the coming months? Are we about to see a truckload of Pippas in the birth announcements? Is Ask wrong, and the world will indeed end next year? Let us know what you think in the comments!
In the meantime, here is Ask.com’s video summary of the top questions of 2011: