The US presidential election became the most-searched item and Kim Kardashian was the most-searched person on Yahoo in 2012, a year when online searches were dominated by big news stories and pop culture obsessions, the search engine company said on Monday.
The search term “election” topped the list of searches, led not only by extensive media coverage but also widening conversation on online social media platforms.
The term “political polls” was No. 8 of the top 10 searches of the year.
“The 2012 elections dominated the online searches, which is amazing because if something is in the news, it’s already accessible … people were really saturated by it, but even so, that was a key word that people typed throughout the year,” Vera Chan, Yahoo’s web trend analyst, said in a conference call.
Vera Chan said only two other news stories have topped the list in the past decade, those being the death of Michael Jackson in 2009 and the BP oil spill in 2010.
“iPhone 5” came in at No. 2, which Vera Chan said was interesting “in a post-Steve Jobs era” because while Apple Inc’s iPhone has featured regularly in the top searches since the first generation emerged in 2007, this was the first time a specific model had appeared high on the list.
Kim Kardashian was the most-searched person on the website, coming in at No. 3 and leading six famous women in the top 10.
Vera Chan said Kim Kardashian’s “notoriety has kept her at the top”, citing her ongoing divorce saga with ex-husband Kris Humphries, her high-profile relationship with rapper Kanye West and her E! channel reality shows.
Sports Illustrated cover model Kate Upton, British royal Kate Middleton, late singer Whitney Houston, troubled former child star Lindsay Lohan and pop star and former American Idol judge Jennifer Lopez all featured in the top 10 after being in the news prominently throughout the year.
The US presidential election became the most-searched item on Yahoo in 2012
Kate Middleton, who was followed eagerly by fans and critics in her first year as a royal married to Britain’s Prince William and being a staple at the London Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, also garnered the most-searched scandal of the year when a French magazine published photos of her topless.
“Olympics” came in at No. 7 on the list, as many turned to online media to watch and keep tabs on the global sporting event held in London during the summer.
On Yahoo’s separate list of top-searched obsessions, pop culture dominated this year, with The Hunger Games, reality star Honey Boo Boo, erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey, British boy band One Direction, Carly Rae Jepsen’s hit song Call Me Maybe and Korean rapper Psy’s Gangnam Style featuring in the top 10.
Yahoo compiles its annual search lists based on aggregated visitor activity on the network and billions of consumer searches.
The US central bank has announced it will resume its policy of pumping more money into the economy via so-called quantitative easing.
The Federal Reserve said it will buy “additional agency mortgage-backed securities at a pace of $40 billion per month”.
The central bank also said it could increase the size of its purchases if the economy does not improve.
The economy is a pivotal issue in this year’s US presidential election.
The US central bank has announced it will resume its policy of pumping more money into the economy via so-called quantitative easing
Interest rates in the US have been close to zero for several years now, and the Fed again kept them at below 0.25%.
“The committee is concerned that, without further policy accommodation, economic growth might not be strong enough to generate sustained improvement in labor market conditions,” said the Fed, led by chairman Ben Bernanke.
US stocks, which had been little changed, gained after the announcement. The benchmark Dow Jones average was 0.7% higher.
The US central bank has tried to support the economy by quantitative easing – buying $2.3 trillion in bonds in two rounds.
The Fed calls such measures “asset purchases”, where the central bank buys bonds to keep the long-term cost of borrowing down. The last round of asset purchases ended last year.
Mortgage-backed securities are debt backed by loans made to homeowners.
The unemployment rate in the US has been above 8% since January 2009, but the current 8.1% is down from the recent high of 10% in October 2009.
“To support continued progress toward maximum employment and price stability, the committee expects that a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy will remain appropriate for a considerable time after the economic recovery strengthens,” the Fed said.
The Fed also confirmed that its $267 billion programme to reduce long-term borrowing costs for firms and households would continue for the rest of the year.
In a move dubbed “Operation Twist”, the central bank buys longer-term bonds from retail lenders and swaps them for shorter-term bonds.
Republican Mitt Romney has secured his place as the challenger to Barack Obama in November’s US presidential election, following a primary in Texas.
Projections show Mitt Romney easily won enough votes to pass the threshold of 1,144 delegates needed for the nomination.
Mitt Romney said he was “humbled”. He is the first Mormon from a major party to contest the presidential election.
He is set to be officially anointed as the Republican nominee at the party convention in Florida in late August.
Mitt Romney has been the presumptive nominee for several weeks as his rivals withdrew or suspended campaigning.
With 1,086 delegates secured as he entered the Texas race, Mitt Romney only needed 58 to pass the 1,144 mark.
Republican Mitt Romney has secured his place as the challenger to Barack Obama in November's US presidential election, following a primary in Texas
In early returns, Mitt Romney had captured more than 70% of the vote. Texas awards 152 delegates proportionally.
He will surpass his father, George Romney, a former Michigan governor who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination in 1968.
Opinion polls suggest Mitt Romney is locked in an extremely close race with Barack Obama in November.
“I am honored that Americans across the country have given their support to my candidacy and I am humbled to have won enough delegates to become the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential nominee,” Mitt Romney said in statement.
As polls closed, the former Massachusetts governor was attending a fundraiser in Las Vegas with real estate tycoon Donald Trump.
He spent the day campaigning in Colorado and Nevada.
Ahead of Tuesday’s private fundraiser, the Obama campaign released a video focusing on Donald Trump’s comments falsely alleging that the president was born in Kenya.
The video seeks to draw a contrast between Mitt Romney and Senator John McCain, the 2008 Republican nominee, who once corrected a woman after she called Barack Obama a Muslim.
“Why won’t Mitt Romney do the same?” asks the clip.
On Monday, Mitt Romney stopped short of condemning Donald Trump’s comments.
“I don’t agree with all the people who support me. And my guess is they don’t all agree with everything I believe in,” Mitt Romney told reporters.
The Obama campaign video against Donald Trump is the latest in a series of attack ads.
On Monday, the Romney campaign released an attack ad criticizing Barack Obama over a federal loan to a solar panel maker which later went bankrupt.
On Tuesday Mitt Romney also met casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson, who gave millions to supporters of Newt Gingrich’s campaign during the primary season.
Experts say the outcome of November’s election could depend on what happens in a handful of battleground states, including Colorado and Nevada, as the candidates vie for the support of independent voters.
The next question of the campaign is who Mitt Romney will pick as his vice-presidential running mate.