Britney beats Paris, and the Olsens are more popular than Regis and Kelly on the Net

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated December 16, 2004 08:10 AM

For the third time in four years, Britney Spears claimed the title as the most searched-for person on the Web in 2004, followed closely by Paris Hilton, according to tallies by America Online.

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were the most-searched duo, topping Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa, while the presidential election bettered even Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl flash (No. 4, behind the beheadings by Muslim extremists and hurricanes in Florida) as the hottest news topic.

“The most searched-for topics online are a way to gauge what Americans want to know more about,” said Gerry Campbell, vice president and general manager of AOL Search and Navigation. (AOL, like PEOPLE, is part of Time Warner.) “Looking at the top year-end search terms from AOL Search gives us a unique view of what was top-of-mind for our members throughout the year.”

Among trends, low carbs replaced no carbs (from last year’s list), Louis Vuitton, Coach and Ugg of Australia headed the fashion searches and cookie recipes were hot – followed by crockpot recipes.

The top three “mother” searches were Julia Roberts, Shar Jackson (formerly partnered with Britney’s husband, Kevin Federline) and Liv Tyler, who gave birth to an 8-lb. baby boy on Tuesday.

In movies, it was Harry Potter, The Passion of the Christ and Lord of the Rings, while on TV: American Idol, The Oprah Winfrey Show and Survivor. The most searched-for male overall was musician Usher; female, Britney. Kobe Bryant was the most-searched athlete.

Last but not least, beagles – not Chihuahuas, despite Paris Hilton’s temporary loss of her pet this year – were the most-searched doggies.