Google Reveals the Top Twenty Things You Searched For in 2016

The memes circulating the internet this year have more than said it: 2016 sucked.

From one of the most controversial elections in modern history to all of the great celebrities we lost, 2016 has had more twists and turns than an M. Knight Shyamalan movie written by David Lynch.

In true December tradition, Google compiled the top twenty trending searches from this year and the results are, somehow, equally expected and surprising.

Let's recap 2016 via Google searches:


#10 - Kevin Durant

Durant made the top ten after he signed a deal with the Golden State Warriors that many called a ‘stunning move.’ The Warriors had just had one of the best regular-season records in NBA history with 73 wins and 9 losses. Durant signed the two-year deal in July.

#9 - Usain Bolt

Known as the ‘Fastest Man Alive’, Bolt excelled once again at the 2016 Rio Olympics accomplishing the amazing feat of the triple-triple winning the 4 x 100 meter relay, the 100 meters, and the 200 meter for the third straight time.

#8 - Cam Newton

After a tough season for the Carolina Panthers, quarterback Cam Newton was trending on Google after taking several blows to the head suffering a concussion against the Atlanta Falcons early in the season. Some people say they are worried for Newton’s safety on the field, and don’t expect him to play much longer in the NFL.

#7 - Simone Biles

The talented Olympian Simone Biles jumped into America’s hearts and onto Google trends after debuting at the 2016 Rio Olympic games. Biles won four gold medals and one bronze medal quickly proving to be one of America’s finest gymnasts and arguably the best in history.

#6 - Ryan Lochte

Lochte’s fall from grace during the 2016 Olympic games was one of the odder stories to come out of Rio. After claiming he had been robbed at gunpoint, Lochte’s lies fell apart after a cursory investigation of the facts. The swimmer ended up losing sponsorship deals and has been banned from competing for at least ten months.

#5 - Steven Avery

The star of Netflix’s documentary ‘Making a Murder’ became the subject of controversy, and google searches after it premiered this summer. The documentary goes through Avery’s conviction for a crime he says he did not commit. His nephew,  Brendan Dassey (who had been charged as an accessory) was recently released after a judge overturned Dassey’s conviction in August. Avery remains behind bars while appealing his conviction.

#4 - Bernie Sanders

The Democratic primary was supposed to be an easy race for the frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, but, an outspoken Vermont Senator named Bernie Sanders had other ideas. His campaign became one of the biggest trends during the contentious primary as the self-proclaimed socialist criticized money in politics, big business and the importance of low-cost education.

#3 - Michael Phelps

Google trends don’t show if people were asking if Michael Phelps was part fish, but after Phelps finished up the 2016 Olympics with 28 medals (23 of them gold), people were Googling the swimmer to find out all they could.

#2 - Hillary Clinton

The runner-up to 2016’s epic election, the Democratic nominee for President was the second most searched for person in 2016. The former Secretary of State was the favorite to win, but Republican nominee Donald Trump won the election after clinching the electoral vote.

#1 - Donald Trump

The Donald. Mr. Trump. Or now, as he will forever be known – President Trump was the most searched for person on Google. Trump ran for President on a platform to ‘Drain the Swamp’ and bring jobs back to the United States. The message resonated with voters and on November 8th, the the former Celebrity Apprentice Star won the presidency.


#10 - Hillary Clinton

Clinton made it into the top twenty twice - once in the people search and and as a subject. The 2016 was fraught with scandal for the Democratic nominee. People were searching for information on Hillary's email servers, and the handling of what happened in Benghazi. Clinton has also placed blame on FBI Director James Comey for her defeat in November. Searches on Google spiked about Clinton after Comey reopened his investigation into her email servers just days before the election. 

#9 - The 2016 Election

While the Olympics may have captured much of the world's attention, the US was firmly focused on electing the next president. Between the scandals, and the hacking, the 2016 election was one of the most consistent trending topics searched for on Google. 

#8 - Trump

The Republican nominee also appears on Google's list of top twenty searches. Trump's run for the highest office has had Google servers running overtime after spending the weeks after his election meeting with potential cabinet members. 

#7 - David Bowie

The celebrity death that birthed the 2016 is terrible meme. We would lose a lot more beloved celebrities through the year, but Bowie's death in the first few weeks of 2016 let us know that this year was not messing around. The legendary musician died of cancer at 69, leaving behind a new album, 'Blackstar' which was released only a few days after his death.

#6 - Olympics

In the run-up to the 2016 Olympics, people were worried that Brazil may not have been up to the task of hosting. But, the games went off without a hitch - (except for the bright green pool and Lochte's infamous faked robbery story). The US dominated the Olympic games winning 46 Gold medals, 37 Silver, and 38 Bronze medals for a total of 121, nearly double the count of second place finisher, Great Britain. 

#5 -

Fifteen years ago, when cell phones didn't have touchscreens, video or even a camera, the best we could hope for was the pre-installed games. One of the best cell phone games from that era was 'Snake' and in 2016 it got a modern update. topped the App store charts this year. The game even overthrew Snapchat as the top free app. 

#4 - Pokemon Go

For about a month there this past summer, Pokémon Go threatened to take over the world. The game drew players in (and got them to go outside!) to try and catch the many Pokémon out and about in the real world. Players invaded neighborhoods, parks, and even cemeteries to try and catch them all. The Poké-fever may have broken for now, but not before becoming one of the most popular mobile game in history. 

#3 - Hurricane Matthew

The Caribbean and much of the Southeastern US was slammed by Matthew in October devastating communities and even entire nations like Haiti. More than 400,000 people lost power on the East Coast, and was responsible for hundreds of deaths in Haiti. 

#2 - Prince

As if David Bowie wasn't enough, we lost another rock legend in April when Prince died at the age of 57. It was later revealed that the legendary rocker had been suffering from an opiod addiction and had been found with the prescription drug Percocet in his system.

#1 - Powerball

A small rule change in the Powerball lottery created some MASSIVE jackpots in 2016. The odds of winning went from 1 in 175 million to 1 in 292 million, and because of that, in January, the jackpot reached $1.5 billion. People flocked to lotto retailers in droves hoping to capture even a fraction of the jackpot amount. The record breaking prize was eventually split by three winners in California, Florida, and Tennessee. Another huge jackpot in April (the ninth-largest in history) was won by someone in New Jersey. 


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