Washington (CNN) – With more than a billion searches being typed into Google a day, the search engine serves as a barometer for what's on the minds of Americans. And when it comes to politics in 2009, Americans were searching more for Henry Louis Gates over Sonia Sotomayor, AIG over TARP, and Mark Sanford over John Edwards.
The most searched-for-senator in 2009 was Ted Kennedy, followed by Bill Nelson - a likely mistake for people trying to find Ben Nelson who has played a large role in the health care debate. Sen. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, who were respectively the third and forth most searched for senators, were searched for more than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
When it came to terms people were searching surrounding the federal bail-out, the No. 1 search was AIG, followed by TARP, GM, and Auto. The word "Government" was the fifth-most searched bail out word in Google this year and "Bank" was the seventh-most searched. When it came to top economic search words Americans were looking for, "Crisis" and "Cash for Clunkers" were No. 1 and 2 and "Great Depression" and "inflation" were No. 9 and 10, respectively.
For all search terms surrounding the health care reform debate, more people were searching for "Rush Limbaugh" and "Glenn Beck" then were searching for the "public opinion" and "Medicare."
In a category Google calls "Their 15 Minutes" or "public figures who made headlines "this year-but may have wished they didn't," Americans searched for "Bernie Madoff" the most, followed by "Mark Sanford." "Rod Blagojevich" came in third followed by "John Edwards."
And in major stories this year, "swine flu" was the top search followed by "inauguration" and "Rush Limbaugh." "Henry Louis Gates" came in fifth and "Sonia Sotomayor" came in ninth, followed by "Mark Sanford."
More broadly, what was the top Google News search? "Swine Flu" and then "Susan Boyle." "Inauguration" was the seventh most-searched word in Google News this year, coming right before "New Moon," the Twilight box office sensation.
And for people who live inside Washington, D.C., they were searching for anything but politics. "FCPS Blackboard," the education company, was the first most searched phrase for Washingtonians, followed by the "E Street Cinema."