The Year in Search: 2016 in Google Blog

It’s that time of year — when we look back at the last 12 months and reflect on the trends that defined the year in Google Search. From Powerball numbers to Olympic champions, whether making dessert or becoming a mannequin, this year affected us all in different ways. Through all the highs and lows, people came to Search to learn more and understand.

So to celebrate the end of 2016, here’s a peek at some of the trending U.S. topics that caught our attention as especially unique to this year.

  1. Powerball: It may seem like a distant memory now, but back in January a record-breaking jackpot made Powerball a hot topic. Search interest in Powerball spiked more than 166 percent, and it’s the top trending search for all of 2016.
  2. Politicians and athletes: 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. The one outlier? Steven Avery, the subject of Netflix’s “Making a Murderer” documentary.
  3. Pokémon Go: Pokémon Go took our lists — and the world — by storm this year. The addictive game appeared four times in our list of top 10 “How to…” questions, with “How to play Pokémon Go?” at the top. Clearly searchers were eager to learn how to catch ‘em all!
  4. Quinoa and Budweiser: From Big Macs to quinoa, Budweiser to Maui Brewing, Brussels sprouts to Buttercream Frosting, it’s clear from our trending calorie, recipe and beer lists that we’re a country of many tastes. One of the new trending recipes this year? Snow cream, a dessert that’s the perfect winter treat with some fresh snow, sugar, milk and vanilla.
  5. Slime and… mannequins: “How to make slime” isn’t a phrase we hear often — until now. Maybe it was the new “Ghostbusters” movie, but while voting and Pokémon dominated much of this year’s “How to…” list, one green, slimy question made its way up to #4. Meanwhile, on the “What is…?” list, the mannequin challenge is standing proud — and very, very still — at #7.
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These are just a few of the trending terms that made up 2016. From remembering past icons like David Bowie and Prince, to searching for current ones like Beyoncé and Alexander Hamilton (a.k.a. Lin-Manuel Miranda), to looking for information on Brexit, Zika, Orlando and Brussels, Search brought us together in dozens of ways this year. Dive into google.com/2016 to see lists from around the world.