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Since 1st March, 1999
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Most wanted on the Web
- Spiderman climbs, Osama slips in year-end ratings

Mumbai, Dec. 14: Spiderman has crawled past Shakira to the top of the Web. J.Lo has outdone Britney, while Eminem is one up on Brad Pitt.

The 2002 Year-End Google Zeitgeist offers flashbacks on the world’s major events and hottest trends — taking into account more than 55 billion queries from users of the world’s most popular online search engine.

So who or what was most wanted in 2002'

It is a far cry from 2001, dominated by Afghanistan. Spiderman is in the no. 1 slot in the “Top 20 Gaining Queries”, with Shakira, the belly-crunching Latino diva whom Gabriel Garcia Marquez has also grown to admire, at no. 2. Then come — this is ’02, and the post-9/11 crisis seems to be over — the Winter Olympics and the football World Cup, followed by Avril Lavigne, the 17-year-old Ontario-born “skater-punk” singer, who took the world by storm with her debut CD Let Go.

Nostradamus, Napster (the free online music download site that was shut down by the US authorities in 2000), World Trade Center, anthrax, Osama bin Laden and Taliban occupy the top six slots in the category “Top 20 Declining Queries”. (Angelina Jolie is also on this list, at no. 10.)

In the top “news” story category, searches for the World Cup beat Iraq, which was followed by the Washington DC sniper.

Las Ketchup, the Latino singing group that has become a global craze, is at no. 14 on the Top 20 gaining queries. The Google survey also provides a graph on the “global progression of Las Ketchup”.

According to Google’s “Top Women 2002” category, the most sought-after women are J.Lo, Britney Spears, Shakira, Bond girl Halle Berry and actress Jennifer Love Hewitt, in that order. The corresponding “Top Men 2002” has singer Eminem, actor Brad Pitt, musicians Nelly and 2pac, and actor Vin Diesel.

The top five sought-after brands are Ferrari, Sony, Nokia, Disney and Ikea. Ryanair, a low fare UK-based airline, finds itself at no. 7.

India is at no. 4 on the list of top destinations, after Paris, Canada and New York, but before Las Vegas, Australia, Hawaii, Japan, Cuba and London.

The five most searched movies were Spider-man, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Jackass and Scooby Doo. The three top television shows were The Simpsons, Big Brother and Osbournes. Sopranos finds a place at no. 7.

The topmost video games were The Sims, Counter Strike and GTA 3.

David Beckham, Anna Kournikova, Ronaldo, Kobe Bryant and Zidane are the most-searched sportspersons.

The most wanted in the “Image search” category were, among women, Britney Spears, then Pamela Anderson, then J.Lo.

Another website, Lycos, also released its list of the top 100 most searched items.

According to the Lycos “Web’s Most Wanted”, Japanese animation sensation Dragonball is the no. 1 searched topic. “Yes, we know there are still plenty of people who have never heard of it, but Dragonball is immensely popular on the Internet thanks to Japanese animation buffs. It is followed by KaZaA, a file-swapping programme, another Internet sensation. Britney Spears is at no. 4.

Lycos also reports fewer searches on the items listed by Google. World Trade Center, at no. 30, is down by 40 per cent. Last year’s top man, Osama bin Laden, is still at no. 60, but down by 72 per cent.

The Zeitgeist results, claims Google, are a mirror to what the world thought about this year. But if that is so, is there much we didn’t know'

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