NEW YORK, Dec 1 (Reuters) - News trumped celebrities in 2010 as the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and World Cup soccer in South Africa topped the list of most-searched items of 2010, according to Yahoo!
It is the first time that news came up first since the technology company began publishing its yearly review a decade ago.
Vera Chan, the company's senior editor and web trend analyst, said the BP oil spill was the most searched topic for term for a variety of reasons.
"It became an issue about so many things, such as the environment, energy, workplace disasters and the role of big government. It became a lightning rod for peoples' anxieties," she explained.
The World Cup, on the other hand, was searched for as both a sporting event and a cultural experience.
"People didn't just search for the players and the teams. It was a cultural learning experience. It was the first World Cup in Africa, and people wanted to learn about post-Apartheid South Africa," she said. "People also wanted to find out what that noise was -- the vuvuzelas."
The list, released on Wednesday, identified the top trends, searches and news items from several categories.
All but one of the other top 10 categories reflected public fascination with celebrities. Teen pop sensation Miley Cyrus was in third place in the search rankings and television personality Kim Kardashian was not far behind at fourth place. They were followed by Lady Gaga at No. 5, actress Megan Fox in seventh place, with Justin Bieber, American Idol and Britney Spears completing the top 10.
The iPhone stood out as the exception, coming in sixth.
Britney Spears continued her fall in the standings, after being knocked down from number 1 to number 5 in 2009, only to land at number 10 in 2010 as rising stars such as Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber become more prominent.
"How to tie a tie" was the No. 1 question in 2010, followed by "how to lose weight", "how to kiss" and "how to write a resume."
Unemployment was the most searched for financial item, followed by "Wall Street companies" and "recalls".
Yahoo! also released a list of top obsessions, defined which it defined as "a person, a pop-culture phenomenon, a political party, a gadget, or a pesty plague that spurred constant online monitoring and obsessive tangential searches."
Chan said often these are guilty pleasures and fan favorites not covered in the news.
The top obsession of 2010 was the much-anticipated iPhone, followed by actress Lindsay Lohan, the iPad, and the television shows "Glee" and "Jersey Shore".
"All of these lists together speak a lot about 2010, and the revolutions in politics and technology of the year," Chan said.
Reporting by Bernd Debusmann Jr., editing by Patricia Reaney