Yahoo called 2009 a year America needed to escape and cope, and this behavior was reflected in people's rush online to search for the latest updates about topics from "foreclosures" and "unemployment" to Michael Jackson and the reality TV show Jon & Kate Plus 8.
Music legend Michael Jackson won out as the top overall search in 2009, knocking Britney Spears from the number one spot for the first time in four years. Jackson died June 25.
"Michael Jackson's death broke many records on Yahoo. His memorial was the single most streamed event in Yahoo's history, with five million total streams," the company said in a statement.
The second most searched term was Twilight, the vampire book and movie series, followed by WWE, which in Yahoo searches leads to World Wrestling Entertainment, in third. The next seven most searched terms were, in order, Megan Fox, Britney Spears, Naruto, American Idol, Kim Kardashian, NASCAR and Runescape.
"In 2009, the Web was an integral part of the news cycle as people rushed online" via computer and mobile phone, Yahoo said in a statement. "As the recession entered its second year, we saw old-fashioned thrift become a necessity, as those lucky enough to have jobs and homes scrimped, saved."
Yahoo provided other top ten search lists for 2009, including the top ten mobile searches for they year. "Mobile devices emerged as essential and indispensable to the lives of many Americans," Yahoo said. Megan Fox ranked first for mobile searches, followed by Mobile Games, Michael Jackson, Movies and Rihanna.
The top economy-related search term on Yahoo this year was Coupons, followed by Unemployment and Stimulus Plan. Other categories Yahoo provided include the top Obama searches, with the president's inauguration as the leading search, as well as the top ten celebrity farewell searches, top science-related searches, music, sports and more.
Yahoo's Year In Review, with images, can be found on its Web site.
Yahoo editors analyzed search queries based on several factors, including absolute volume and growth, to determine the search rankings, the company said. Individual users and their Search queries were anonymous.