Top Online Searches of 2016 and Their Meaning

2:42 pm
1 Rob Ashley
Is there a better way to understand people’s obsessions around the world in 2016 than by looking at the most common web searches?

2016 was quite an eventful year. Which event managed to dominate the minds of the global population? Who had the world talking about them? The best way to find out is to look at the top online searches people made in 2016. After all, when you ask Google where to go or what to do, you’re basically telling it what you’re interested in.

The Overnight Success – Pokémon Go


Nintendo’s hit franchise has made the transition to a mobile app, which contributed to the tech company’s very successful year. Not only did Pokémon Go cause Nintendo’s stock to skyrocket, but it dominated internet searches year-round. “How to play Pokémon Go” was the number one search question in 2016, and that’s not even mentioning the countless searches for locations of rare Pokémons. Just at the end of the year, Nintendo has used the momentum it gained to launch another app, Mario Run, which became the fastest selling game on the iTunes Store.

What does it mean? That regardless of world-changing events and shocking news, people still remember to have fun, and that walking outside never goes out of style.

The Name Everyone Knows – Donald Trump

Donald Trump

It should come as no surprise that President Elect Donald Trump was the most searched name of 2016. Not only did the United States elections had the attention of most news outlets, Mr. Trump himself is a skilled showman, ensuring that no matter when you looked, there was something interesting going on in the US. Even after the elections were over, Trump has continued to provide headline after headline, and has yet to show a sign of stopping.

What does it mean? That we live in a global community, so elections at one nation can affect us all.

The Sour Note – Terrorism


Two attacks by ISIS and two shootings in the US made four out the top 10 global events in online searches. Be it Muslim extremists or homophobes, terrorists have taken a terrible tool from the world in 2016. In Nice, Brussels, Berlin, Orlando, Dallas or any of the other places terror has struck, innocent people have lost their lives. Here’s to hoping that next year will not be encumbered by these displays of tragedy.

What does it mean? That we still have a lot to grow as a society, and work hard towards a world where terrorism no longer exists.

The Mercantile Winner – Apple


Not one, not two, not three, but FOUR apple products made it to the top list of product searches in 2016, and three of them were different versions of iPhone 7. Indeed, when it came to web searches, iPhone 7 was king of all smartphones, easily eclipsing the competition from Samsung’s Galaxy and Google’s Pixel. Even iPhone 6 got its fair share of searches, putting Apple at the top of the tech game.

What does it mean? That even without the presence of Steve Jobs, Apple still leads the industry and has the hearts and mind of tech-lovers worldwide.

The Culture Winner – Science Fiction


This was a very good year for science fiction fans, as it seemed to have brought more people into the genre than ever. On television, shows such as Netflix’s Stranger Things, and HBO’s Westworld have climbed their way into the hearts of viewers and took over top spots in internet searches. On the silver screen, despite a new Harry Potter movie and several Oscar favorites, comic book heroes took the internet by storm, with Deadpool and Suicide Squad being the top searches.

What does it mean? That it’s not a bad idea to take a break from reality every now and then, and that the entertainment options we have are only getting better with each year that passes.