Searching Through 2008 – A Look Back

  • Posted December 1st, 2008 at 8:46 am by Yahoo! Search
  • Categories: Search Trends

It’s that time of year again when we look back at what was 2008 through the billions of search queries we receive each month and from the millions of users who help paint this picture. This year we’ve teamed up with Yahoo! Buzz to bring to you the Yahoo! 2008 Year in Review.

Not only are we presenting the top ten searches, we are also including overall themes and popular trends that bubbled to the surface , including the economy, politicians, news stories, Olympians, rising celebrities, influential women, and notable deaths. Searches within these themes covered the gamut, from Miley Cyrus’ controversial Vanity Fair cover to the notorious pregnant man and farewell searches of Heath Ledger and Bernie Mac. Michael Phelps also pulled in the highest searches of any Olympian, while Angelina Jolie and Sarah Palin gained top positions in the influential women category.

Additional “top tens” were also included in this year’s review across select areas of Yahoo! such as, Yahoo! Food, Shine, Tech, Green, Shopping, Travel, Games, Movies, Mobile, Music, Local, Upcoming, Hot Jobs, most Buzzed-Up stories and clicked-on stories from

What a year it was! Looking over all of the top ten lists and search activity for 2008, we pulled out some interesting tidbits we thought you’d find interesting. Users were captivated by this year’s historic US Presidential election, with the Olympic triumphs closely following. The economic downturn was another issue that grabbed up a lot of user’s attention. Of course, there was still time to enjoy a little escape by devouring celebrity gossip and delving into online video games.

And despite all of the activity surrounding the 2008 Presidential elections, Britney Spears still gained the number one spot as the top searched person (7 out of 8 years). She did make some news this year with a new album, three MTV Music Awards, a sitcom guest star role and documentary on her rise. People just can’t get enough of her!

Barack Obama was the second most searched person in 2008 and the third most popular search term. Headlines of his election victory received more clicks than any other story on this year. Obama soared up the search ranks as the election campaign moved forward with consumers using search to get informed, learn more about him and decide how to vote in this critically important election.

There was some debate on whether or not Britney Spears could outrank President-elect Barack Obama as the most searched term and most searched person in 2008. According to a recent Yahoo! Search survey*, most people thought Barack Obama (38 percent) would be the most searched person on the Web followed by Britney Spears (27 percent). It’s not over yet, though! With one more month remaining in 2008, President Obama may still outrank his top search opponent.

To find out more about the Yahoo! 2008 Year in Review, go to
Incidentally, another way to look back at 2008 is through our monthly reviews of top movers – keywords that accelerated the fastest. We skipped January (hangover, sorry), but click through to see what buzzed in February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, and November.

Stephen Rodi
Yahoo! Search

*Source: October 2008 survey from Yahoo! and Decipher Inc., which randomly sampled and surveyed 2,000 U.S. Internet Adults

  • Subscribe
back to yahoo! search

subscription options

Facebook Fans

latest posts