Swimmer sizzles as Google’s golden girl, but games was the winner

Stephanie Rice was among one of Australia’s hot Google searches of 2008

US President-elect Barack Obama was Australia's most searched celebrity on Google in 2008.

US President-elect Barack Obama was Australia's most searched celebrity on Google in 2008.

Google Australia has released the nation’s hottest search topics for 2008, with Olympic gold medalist and Facebook scandal queen Stephanie Rice, and US President-elect Barack Obama among our favourites.

According to Google, this year’s lists, calculated by aggregating the most popular and fast-rising search queries, are a good reflection of what's on the minds of Australians.

This year "games" was the nation's overall most-searched topic, followed by Sydney and YouTube. Technology-based topics also featured heavily, with the Apple iPhone, Facebook and Google Maps heading the ‘20 fastest rising Australian searches of 2008’. Stephanie Rice was ranked 12th in that list but was the gold medal winner of the Olympic-related searches, edging out Usain Bolt, who was second on the podium and Grant Hackett in bronze.

In the entertainment arena, Big Brother, Baz Luhrmann’s Australia, Kyle Sandilands’ wedding and Madonna’s divorce, ranked high amongst Australian Google searches. Despite his age, Chuck Norris still gets a guernsey in the top 10 list of celebs. The most searched celebrity was Barack Obama.

In a year that saw our financial market’s take a tumble, the financial crisis was a hot business search, as was retailer Harvey Norman and Telstra shares.

Google’s lists also show what was hot in Australia’s States and Territories in 2008.

NSW tops the table for searches for mortgages, Victoria leads on searches for Gordon Ramsay, and Queenslanders search most for The Veronicas, while West Australians were lamenting the loss of their AFL star Chris Judd.

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