Former Boyzone singer Stephen Gately, who died Oct 10, topped the list of most popular topics searched for over the past 12 months by U.K. Google users.

The only other music artist to appear in the top 5 was Lady Gaga, who appeared at No. 5 in the annual “hot topic” rundown released Google.

The list is compiled from the most popular keyword searches from all Google queries made by British users in the past 12 months.

Although it excludes established navigational queries such as eBay or Hotmail, new navigational queries -- such as Swedish music streaming service Spotify, which featured at No. 3, followed by Twitter at number 4 -- are included in the rundown.

Michael Jackson appeared at No. 10 on this year's list in the wake of the international media frenzy that followed his death earlier in June. The rest of the “hot topic” top 10 was made up of technology products such as mobile phone models and Microsoft's Bing search engine, along with the 1911 census and U.K. reality TV personality Jade Goody, who lost her battle with cancer earlier this year.

Previous music-related names to top the 'hot topic' list have included U.K. singer songwriter James Blunt in 2005, the iPhone in 2007 and the BBC iPlayer in 2008.

Google U.K. has also published a list of its fastest-rising news stories over the last 12 months and its “hottest tickets” list, documenting the fastest rising ticket searches in 2009.

Current Billboard chart-topper Susan Boyle came second in the news list, beaten only by U.K. users searching for information on swine flu. Rihanna and Michael Jackson were 5 and 6 respectively in the news searches rundown.

Lady Gaga, meanwhile, topped the “hottest tickets” list, followed by Michael Jackson and Taylor Swift.

Commenting on the search results, a Google U.K. spokesman says: “the untimely deaths of Stephen Gately and Michael Jackson assured they'd feature prominently in the annual search league tables. But new singing sensations like Lady Gaga and Susan Boyle held their own."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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