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Bing! Caitlyn Jenner Dethrones Kim Kardashian as Most-Searched Celebrity

Bing! Caitlyn Jenner Dethrones Kim Kardashian as Most-Searched Celebrity

Caitlyn Jenner

This may well be Year of Caitlyn Jenner, who has popped to the top of Bing’s most-searched celebrity list for the year.


Microsoft's Bing search engine just put to rest any that 2015 was Caitlyn Jenner's best year yet, officially naming Jenner the most-searched celebrity of 2015 on the online search engine.

Jenner beat out her own step-daughter, Kim Kardashian, in this year's ranking.

The interest in the former Olympian and Kardashian stepparent first lit up the internet following her record-breaking interview with Diane Sawyer, where Jenner came out as a woman, though at the time was still using male pronouns and her birth name. Searches spiked again following June's Vanity Fair cover story where Jenner asked the world to "Call Me Caitlyn." Interest piqued again when Jenner delivered an emotional speech as she accepted the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the 2015 ESPY Awards on July 16. Jenner's eponymous eight-part documentary series, I Am Cait, debuted on July 26 on the E! network this year.

Online queries about Jenner comprised 78 percent of celebrity-related searches in June, and 91 percent of queries by October, Microsoft tells The Advocate.

But the unprecedented interest in Jenner reveals more than just the massive scope of influence she's amassed in her decades as a public figure. "Bing's search data revealed a key moment in 2015 -- a shift in dialogue related to transgender acceptance catapulted by Caitlyn Jenner," Microsoft writes in a release announcing the top-searched list.

Microsoft notes that "searches for Jenner on Bing indicate that consumers rapidly made the shift to Caitlyn," as the public quickly acclimated to Jenner's new first name.


Jenner's Vanity Fair cover was also the second-most-searched celebrity moment of 2015, falling just behind the sex abuse scandal that nearly felled the reality TV empire of the Duggar family, best known for the now-canceled TLC series19 Kids and Counting.

Interest in Jenner's cover beat out the royal birth of England's baby Charlotte (who came in third), former NBA player Lamar Odom's drug overdose at a Las Vegas bordello (in the number four spot), and once-longterm cuddly paramours, Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy's breakup, announced in advance of The Muppets' return to TV, which rounded out the most-searched topics list at number 10.

Jenner also "drove five times more searches than the next closest transgender topic, which was the first Bold and the Beautiful transgender character announcement" in March, the tech giant tells The Advocate.

"Although the transgender community is small in number, Caitlyn Jenner, already a celebrity before from the Olympics and association with the Kardashians, had extremely high-trending moments throughout 2015 that generated an interest in the conversation around both the transgender community and gender identity," Walter Sun says.

Sun is a principal development manager and data scientist for Bing at Microsoft. He observes that the Bing team noticed the first blush of interest in Jenner when she was interviewed by Diane Sawyer on ABC:

The 20/20 interview with Diane Sawyer, was the first moment where we noted a large spike in search queries around the topic. Following this interview, queries spiked again after the release of Caitlyn's Vanity Fair cover, as well as from her acceptance of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2015 ESPY's. These moments lead to Caitlyn becoming a notable figurehead as well as Bing's Most Searched Celebrity of 2015.

Sun futher explains that increased searches around a topic can be predictive of larger shifts in social mores and cultural compentency.

"Although we cannot speak for society's willingness to change, we can say that we've noted a rise in queries for what society seems to be interested in at any given moment," Sun says. "As interest towards a change within a faction of society increases, searches involving language that reflects those ideas tend to increase in number."

With 20.8 percent of all U.S. searches conducted online using its interface, Bing is the second-largest search engine in the United States, according to metrics analysis site ComScore.

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Cleis Abeni

Cleis (pronounced like "dice") is a former correspondent for The Advocate.
Cleis (pronounced like "dice") is a former correspondent for The Advocate.