It was a big year for policy buffs, starting with the inauguration of a new president, followed quickly by major issues including the economy, health care and environmental concerns. And sometimes, we were glued to stories we couldn't have anticipated. Here are some of the most popular queries—hot off the press. Unless otherwise noted, these queries were most popular in the U.S. in 2009.
A variety of calamitous events struck worldwide this year, spurring major search interest—including plane crashes in the Hudson River and Buffalo, earthquakes in Italy and Los Angeles, fires in California and a tsunami in American Samoa.
*These stories dominated the news cycle.
*Top queries related to searches for [health care reform].
*Top queries related to searches for [green energy].
*These public figures made headlines this year—but may have wished they didn't.
*Some news events that captured our imagination seemed unreal—but they really did happen. These queries were some of the fastest rising in Google News.