The Top 25 Web Searches of the First Decade

What everyone was searching for online in the early 2000s

An illustration of a man using the search bar to find information on the web.

 Getty Images

Let's take a look back at the first decade of the 2000s and see what we, the web community at large, searched for online. The results here are pulled from a handpicked variety of search engines and search lists and represent the most searched for topics over the longest period of time.

Entertainment-related searches are prominent in this list, followed closely behind by social networking sites, politics, and sports. All of these searches appeared in at least two of the yearly end of the year search statistic compilations, and represent the sum total of millions of searches.

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Internet Market Considers MIcrosoft Bid for Yahoo
Chris Jackson / Getty Images

This popular social networking site made its first mark on the web in 2004 and focused primarily on students high school to college age. As it gained popularity, the site became accessible to the general public — including organizations and companies too.

People use Facebook to connect with friends, family, and work colleagues, create events, share photos, and more. It's one of the most highly trafficked sites on the entire Web.

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China Online Companies
S3studio / Getty Images

Baidu, which launched in 2000, is the largest Chinese language search engine in China. You may have never heard of it, but more people use Baidu to search for content than any other site on the Chinese mainland.

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MySpace 2nd Anniversary Concert
WireImage / Getty Images

Ah yes, the original Facebook. MySpace, started in 2003, was once one of the world's most popular social networking sites, with hundreds of millions of members. People used MySpace to connect with friends, listen to new music, watch videos, and much more.

Today, MySpace is still operating, but it has nowhere near the user base it once had in the early 2000s. For most people, it's mostly just a memory that represents the original social networking scene before Facebook took over.

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World Cup

The World Cup
Mariya Butd/Flickr CC 2.0

The FIFA World Cup is an international men's soccer championship that happens every four years. Millions of soccer/football fans all over the world search for World Cup information on a variety of search engines and sites to find out which teams are playing and when, what the score is, where to watch it online and more.

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 James Leynse/Corbis/Getty Images

Believe it or not, Wikipedia has been around since 2001. The totally free, community-driven encyclopedia contains of a staggering array of information that is frequently updated by regular people like you.

Anyone can edit Wikipedia as long as they follow the guidelines. In most cases, you'll find that Wikipedia page have the most accurate and current information on a particular topic.

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Britney Spears

Britney Spears Christmas Tree-Lighting Ceremony At The LINQ Promenade
David Becker / Getty Images

The pop star who made her debut in 1998 with "Hit Me Baby One More Time" was a perennial favorite of many, many searchers. In fact, she showed up in the top searches nearly every year of the decade.

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Harry Potter

Michael Nagle/Getty Images

The boy wizard has captured the hearts of millions of fans all over the world since the beginning of the saga in 1997. Of course, when the first movie (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone) came out in 2001, it seemed as if everyone had become an instant fan.

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Germany v Argentina: 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Final
Matthias Hangst / Getty Images

Latin American singing sensation Shakira had been on several yearly search lists. She's probably best known for her hit singles "Whenever Wherever" and "Hips Don't Lie," along with her best-selling Spanish language album, Fijacion Oral, vol. 1.

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Lord of the Rings

New Line Cinema's 'Lord Of The Rings' Gets 13 Oscar Nominations
WireImage / Getty Images

Similar to Harry Potter, the Lord of the Rings trilogy: "The Fellowship of the Ring," "The Two Towers," and "The Return of the King," were made into three movies that dominated movie web searches this decade.

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Barack Obama

Barack Obama
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Barack Obama made history by becoming the first African-American president in American history and our web searches reflected this pivotal moment. He was indeed one of the most remarkable presidents the country has ever had.

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Lindsay Lohan

Lindsay Lohan
George Pimentel/Getty Images

Starting with her role in "The Parent Trap," Lindsay Lohan starred in multiple teen-focuses movies throughout this decade, including "Freaky Friday," "Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen," and "Mean Girls." Later on, many of the web searches for Lindsay were centered on her addictions and very public family troubles.

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Xbox One X and Xbox One S consoles, Xbox Controllers, Xbox 1, XB1

We all love to play games, and our web searches sure did reflect that. Whether it was Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo, or online gaming, it's no surprise that games figured prominently in the top searches for every year of this decade.

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American Idol

'American Idol' XIV Grand Finale - Show
Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

Since its debut in 2002, American Idol has snagged millions of viewers and become part of American television history. The show has been so successful that it's still running in 2019.

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NASCAR XFINITY Series Irish Hills 250
Brian Lawdermilk / Getty Images

Racing fans made their preferences for NASCAR known this decade. The popular sport showed up in several year-end search lists from 2000 to 2010.

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Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The iPhone debuted to the public fairly late in the decade (2007), yet still managed to dominate Web searches. Today, the iPhone is an iconic device and iOS is one of the two main mobile platforms for app developers (the other being Android, of course).

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George Bush

(L-R) President Barack Obama and former Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter attend the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Center April 25, 2013 in Dallas, Texas.
(L-R) President Barack Obama and former Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter attend the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Center April 25, 2013 in Dallas, Texas.  Alex Wong/Getty Images

President George Bush was President for most of the first decade of the '00's. Highlights of his terms in office included the controversial vote recount, the 9/11 terrorist attacks and a war against Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Star Wars

Star Wars Launch Bay is the central locale for guests to celebrate all things Star Wars at Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort. Inside, guests may encounter beloved Star Wars characters, play the latest Star Wars interactive video games, explore galleries full of treasured memorabilia and authentic replicas of large-scale Star Wars artifacts, including ones from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and have access to Star Wars merchandise.
David Roark/Disney Parks via Getty Images

Several Star Wars movies were released throughout the early 2000s, and thanks to Disney they just keep on coming. The "Star Wars" series is arguably the most popular film series in history, and the quantity of web searches reflected that.

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Woman listening to music lying on grass
LifesizeImages/Getty Images

Gone are the days when you had to purchase an artist or band's album to read the lyrics to their songs. Finding lyrics to our favorite songs is an extremely popular web search query and there's no shortage of sites that offer them.

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Steve Austin was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2009
Steve Austin at the 2009 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Bob Levey/WireImage/Getty Images

WWE, or World Wrestling Entertainment, has captured the attention of millions of fans on the web: regardless of whether it's real or staged. Just like any other sport, fans want to know all about the athletes, their matches, where to watch them online and so on.

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Jessica Simpson

Desiree Navarro/Getty Images

Pop star Jessica Simpson was at the forefront of entertainment news and celebrity gossip in the early 2000s. She had been in and out of popular web searches this decade with her marriage, divorce, popular TV show and sputtering singing career.

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Paris Hilton

Paris Hilton
Mike Port/Getty Images

Another young celeb, Socialite Paris Hilton had topped search lists this decade, mostly due to her indiscretions on video and a fledgling singing career.

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Pamela Anderson

Pamela Anderson
Steve Mack/Getty Images

Baywatch's Pamela Anderson was pretty much a web search mainstay. She had topped web search lists for the whole decade and even know as we creep up to the end of the second decade, this trend shows no sign of slowing down.

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U.S. debt default would halt payments to U.S. military personnel
Lucas Jackson-Pool/Getty Images

Iraq was a relative blip on the web search screen, but that changed with the war against Saddam Hussein declared by President George Bush (number 16 on this list).

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Youtube for Ecommerce
Ethan Miller / Getty Images News / Getty Images

YouTube is the most popular video site on the web, and has been since it began in 2005. Google purchased the company in 2006. YouTube is also the second largest search engine behind Google.

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Smartphone Apps for Quilters
E+ Getty Images

Back before iPhones and Androids were a thing, did you ever search for ringtones for your cell phone online? Millions of web searchers did this back in the day, and though the number of ringtone queries was astonishingly large for this decade, the rise of mobile devices only made that number grow bigger.


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