Whirlwind Pippa outstrips tornado and her sister

By Amelia Wade

Never mind tornadoes and the most celebrated bride of the century - this week Kiwis preferred to know about her royal hotness Pippa Middleton.

In a list of New Zealanders' most popular internet searches released by Google, the most searched news story was Osama bin Laden's death, followed by Pippa and Auckland's tornado.

Royal wedding watchers are reported to have nearly crashed the Google site with mentions of Pippa, who was dubbed "Her Royal Hotness" by the British media.

She was also clearly a Kiwi favourite, searches for the royal sister-in-law coming in above Auckland's tornado, which sits at numbers seven and eight on the list.

Google deemed the last seven days the busiest news week of the year because of the royal wedding, bin Laden's killing and the tornado in Albany.

Osama bin Laden and tornado coverage, both breaking news stories, went straight to the top of the list of breakout searches.

Bin Laden was rated the fastest-rising search topic this year worldwide.

Kiwis followed this international trend, using the giant internet search engine to find links to news stories about the al-Qaeda founder.

Google noted how times had changed since the widely publicised royal wedding of Charles and Diana in 1981, when the only viewing platform was television.

Last week's wedding had a live stream of the service and procession on YouTube - the monarchy's official YouTube channel, TheRoyalChannel, received almost 28 million views.

The week that led up to the wedding saw an abundance of wedding-related searches including everything from Kate's dress to Prince Harry.

Since the big day, people have been focusing on highlights, the Middleton sisters a standout in search even six days after the event.

Media commentator Jim Tully, an associate professor at Canterbury University, said he wasn't surprised at Pippa's ranking in the list, given people were interested in personalities.

"She attracted a lot of interest at the wedding and became quite a talking point, so I would imagine they would be interested in trying to find out more about her because they know everything they need to about Kate," he said.

"But it's heartening that the top five items relate to Osama bin Laden, because that was such a huge international news event which has implications for every country, including our own."

Professor Tully said the findings were "reasonably predictable" considering the size of the news events.

THE HITLIST

Google's most popular searches in NZ over the past seven days:

1. bin laden

2. bin laden dead

3. osama

4. osama bin laden

5. osama dead

6. pippa middleton

7. tornado auckland

8. tornado

9. kate middleton

10. royal wedding

- NZ Herald

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