“Love is out there” — that’s Google’s mantra in its annual Year in Search compilation, which highlights the defining moments of the past 12 months. From the mannequin challenge to Brexit, the video exudes positive vibes with quotes from Stephen Colbert and Ellen Degeneres on hope and humanity.
But it doesn’t start quite so optimistically. The 2016 Year in Search starts with the “uncertainty of Brexit,” a divided United States, the continued protests of police brutality and attacks carried out on the police, and war-torn Aleppo. While the video continues to touch on these top stories, it highlights positive notes set to Light the Sky, by this year’s American’s Got Talent winner Grace VanderWaal.
The number one trending search result of the year in the U.S. is by now a little underwhelming as it’s from January — the Powerball lottery, thanks to a record-breaking jackpot. Google says search interest in the Powerball lottery spiked more than 166 percent. In its top 10 trending people category, the results are unsurprisingly related to topics that dominated the year: The U.S. election and the Olympics.
“In a year with the Olympics and U.S. election, it’s not surprising that nine of our 10 top trending people of the year fell into one of these two categories — from Donald Trump to Michael Phelps and Hillary Clinton to Simone Biles,” writes Ben Gomes, Google vice president of Search. “The one outlier? Steven Avery, the subject of Netflix’s “Making a Murderer” documentary.”
While Pokémon Go may have lost some of its steam since its release in the summer, Google says the app retained four spots in its list of top 10 “How to…” questions, with “How to play Pokémon Go” being number one. The augmented reality game was the number one trending global search in 2016, and the Google Trends website lets you filter the rest of the results by country or globally.
Google categorizes some of these top trending searches as “breakout searches,” and you can see them broken down by Places, People, Things, and Ideas. This handy site highlights the top searches in each category on a month-to-month basis.
“These are just a few of the trending terms that made up 2016,” Gomes said. “From remembering past icons like David Bowie and Prince, to searching for current ones like Beyoncé and Alexander Hamilton (aka Lin-Manuel Miranda), to looking for information on Brexit, Zika, Orlando, and Brussels, Search brought us together in dozens of ways this year.”
You can view the rest of the year’s top trending results from Google on the Trends website.