“Google’s Year in Search” offers a glimpse into the global psyche of the internet by telling us what the world has been asking about. The results are never truly surprising, but they’re quite often illuminating.
In a world where peeling your eyes from the pale glow of a cell phone is treated like an Olympic event, it should be no surprise that the international obsession with entrapping virtual monsters would outstrip even the games themselves. Pokemon Go was more searched than any other term in 2016, while the Olympic games squeaked into the top ten at eighth.
Donald Trump hovers near the top of the list, trumped only by virtual monsters and the newest iPhone on which to catch them. After the president-elect, the internet turned toward the loss of Prince and David Bowie, as well as the three-way split of a $1.56 billion Powerball jackpot. The shamelessly addictive game Slither.io wormed its way into people’s hearts across the globe, as well as the most popular movie entries from both Marvel and DC: Deadpool and Suicide Squad were a big enough deal to join the top 10.
The U.S. election predictably dominated global news, but more people were interested in the aforementioned Olympic games than Britain’s proposed exit from the European Union. The Pulse nightclub terrorist attack in Orlando and the threat of Zika followed close behind, edging out the Panama Papers and a slew of other events and disasters.
Donald Trump was the most-searched person, with Hillary Clinton and Michael Phelps trailing behind him. Bernie Sanders’ hamstrung political revolution still made him the sixth-most interesting individual on the Internet. The deaths of both Prince and David Bowie were foremost among the widely mourned, but Christina Grimmie, Alan Rickman, and the legendary Muhammad Ali continued a parade of predominantly household names.
There are many other interesting finds. Netflix Original Series Stranger Things dwarfed even Game of Thrones in popularity, a Lovecraftian mega-hit from the streaming giant that continues to generate interest. By now, most of the internet has become intimately acquainted with the “Upside Down.”
It’s been a rigorous, tumultuous year, but if everything has seemed a bit overwhelming, don’t worry! There’s always Pokemon.
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