Yes, its that time of year, when it seems like the only reason that search data is archived is to come up with cute little top 10 lists. First up is Microsoft, with its own search engine's guide to what was hot in 2011.

Binging with Bieber

Unsurprisingly, a tiny little gadget came top of all search terms in 2011. No, not the iPhone 5 (which only managed 4th place in technology searches - see below) but a Justin Bieber - a tiny singing appliance apparently. Oh, okay, he's a person - and topped the list of celebrities, with a bunch of other people you don't want to hear about, and Katy Perry - the only talented one.

In the wider world, Britain's Royal Wedding proved popular (although bing refuses to say how many searches there were for "Pippa Middleton's bum." But, the most momentous global news event, the death of Bin Laden, was beaten by searches from people looking for information on the Casey Anthony trial.

Outside of the list's celebrity and entertainment focus, that terrible "Friday" song on YouTube by Rebecca Black was the most searched for viral video. On the economic front, "real estate agents" was the top search term as people presumably looked to move on from the housing crisis of recent years.

Go Go Gadget...

Among consumer electronics, a home favorite, Microsoft's own Xbox and Kinect (which will be appearing on the PC next year) topped the list with a range of popular gadgets in hot pursuit. Interesting to see the Macbook Pro as the only real computer in the list.

  • Xbox and Kinect
  • Kindle
  • PlayStation
  • iPhone 5
  • iPad
  • Wii
  • iPad 2
  • Nook
  • Windows Phone 7
  • Macbook Pro

It looks like the iPhone 5 will be a top 2012 search term as the new phone finally makes its bow, along with new iPads, and possibly the Amazon Kindle Smartphone. With Microsoft's deep pockets, bing will likely be around come the end of 2012, but how about its rival Yahoo? That's one search term that may be consigned to the history books.