News / AOL Blog

From Captivating Court Cases to Celebrity Blunders and Puzzling Consumer Questions, AOL Gets People

Nov 30, 2011

Today we revealed our 2011 Year End Hot Searches from the US, UK and Canada in a variety of categories including news, celebrities, memes, tech gadgets, movies and TV shows. Demonstrating our understanding of the conversations resonating with consumers, AOL also gathered data on new question-based categories that speak to the phrases most popular in online searches.

AOL is one of the starting points for conversations on the Web and this year's search results reflect that. Using our data and insights tools, we captured the pulse of the 2011 online dialogue – from Casey Anthony and Charlie Sheen, to Ted Williams and Lady Gaga, our search results reveal the news, entertainment and pop culture memes that captivated consumers this year.

Fueled by the controversy surrounding her trial, Casey Anthony emerged as the top searched terms in the US, followed by the Gabrielle Giffords shooting and the Royal Wedding. Charlie Sheen's antics propelled him to the top of the celebrities list, with Justin Bieber and Kate Middleton rounding out the top three most searched celebrities.

AOL gathered new category data this year to offer insight into the most popular questions consumers searched. In the "how" category searchers most often inquired, "How can I pay off my credit card?"; in the "why did" category searchers asked, "Why Did Dick leave Big Brother?"; and in the "is" category, "Is Whitney Houston pregnant?" topped the list.

2011 will go down in history as the year that witnessed some of the biggest and most explosive news stories of recent years, with the Royal Wedding, the London riots, the Ryan Giggs scandal, and the death of Osama Bin Laden all among the top ten most searched news stories.

The world of entertainment was rocked to the core this year when award-winning singer Amy Winehouse was found dead at her home in Camden in July and Prince William and Kate Middleton's nuptials bought the UK to a standstill when fans couldn't get enough of the news, gossip and pictures from the big day.

AOL UK has seen a number of bizarre questions posed by its users this year – and there are few more random than 'How does a Norwegian man propose?' - the most searched for question this year. Additionally, Princess Beatrice's hat at the Royal Wedding topped the list of most searched 'memes' this year with her quirky headwear leading the way in popular internet phenomena.

Capturing the attention of millions of viewers from around the globe, the Royal Wedding topped the news circuit as the most-searched term, followed by the highly-publicized strike at Air Canada and the controversial trial of Casey Anthony. Natural disasters also dominated online dialogues; from the Japan earthquake and Hurricane Irene to the tornado in Goderich Ontario.

In celeb news, the music world was deeply saddened to learn that British singer-songwriter, Amy Winehouse was found dead in her Camden home this past July. An international talent, Winehouse also topped the UK most-searched list and appeared in the eighth spot in the US celebrity category. Behind Winehouse, another popular Brit, Pippa Middleton came in a close second for the number two spot, followed by Ryan Dunn and Canada's own- Stratford native and pop-sensation, Justin Bieber.

To see the full global results, check out Year End Hot Searches here.