Image from Year in Search 2015 on YouTube.
By Rina M.
Suddenly, it’s 2016; which means you can either gripe about an entire month without holidays or reinvent a new you because, you know, the whole “New Year, New Me” mumbo jumbo. Yet before we attempt to lose 20 pounds of holiday weight and commit to a job longer than six months, let’s recall the events of 2015 that have branded our history.
Remember when we lost Mr. Leonard Nimoy, the glorified actor with pronounced eyebrows, best known as Spock from Star Trek, or when Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton hit us with a curve ball, calling their marriage quits? If that last one went over your head, that’s alright, because there was an underbelly of other widely recognizable searches that Google was indexing this year.
Google Trends introduced a Year in Search 2015, where Google has compiled this past year’s searches of what the world was entering into its search bar. These chronicles have emotionally moved us, compelling us to chortle, weep, hashtag, retweet, fall out of our Ikea-branded swivel chair and, in some countries, chuck a keyboard out the window.
The Dress, the Oscars, and Cricket
Is The Dress white and gold, or black and blue? Remember this mind-bending waste of time? Team #Whiteandgold and team #Blueandblack monopolized all Twitter and Instagram feeds, deceiving social users about the sincere colors of The Dress. Google tallied over 73 million searches in February, with the leading global query, “What Color is The Dress?”
We were eventually taught that the “tiny cones” in the back of our eyeballs” were to blame for the debate and the perplexities of whether or not we were color blind.
However, take The Dress’ disgusting number of accumulated search counts and multiply it by five, we have the most anticipated event in Hollywood, the 2015 Oscars, which gathered an ungodly sum of at least 406 million searches in February worldwide. Film buffs and celebrity-lurkers Googled the winners, nominees, and attendees.
From February to March, the 11th Cricket World Cup enveloped Google’s presence with over 323 million searches that progressed with cricket becoming one of the most searched sports in the world.
Nepal Earthquake, Black Lives Matter, & Pacquiao vs. Mayweather
An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook Nepal at around 11:56 am on April 25, leaving roughly 9,000 people dead and a massive landslide on Mount Everest. The Nepal earthquake garnered over 85 million searches in April globally, galvanizing compassionate Googlers in searching for how they can help.
During that same month, 189 million national searches hoarded around the movement Black Lives Matter with queries about Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, and Laquan McDonald swarming the search engine.
Millions of Manny Pacquiao supporters were woeful the evening when undefeated Floyd Mayweather championed in the ring and in our nation’s search. Mayweather was the most Googled fighter in May with questions like “How old is Mayweather?” to “What time is the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight?” Our country had a knockout of 216 million searches.
Same-sex Marriage and Caitlyn Jenner
Love conquered US search queries in both May and June when same-sex marriage triumphed to a considerable 108 million searches with the “How many states allow same-sex marriage?” question taking the lead. The US Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage should be lawfully recognized at the State and Federal level. What’s a more appropriate month for Caitlyn Jenner to shanghai the show?
A generous 366 million searches had Caitlyn Jenner’s name all over them. Formerly Bruce Jenner, a retired Olympic decathlon winner, Caitlyn got published on the cover of Vanity Fair with a bravado needing no filter, her hair falling gloriously to her clavicle, lifted by the support transpiring from all of her fans.
Cuba & US, Cecil the Lion, and Women’s World Cup
Much of Google’s search activity in July involved Cuba and the US restoring their diplomatic relations, which was disunited in 1951 during the Cold War. For the restoration, there were 27 million searches in the US alone.
Cecil the Lion had 32 million searches globally and the Women’s World Cup nearly doubled in search interest compared to the last tournament in 2011, with 113 million searches universally. These current events influenced people to ask Google, “Who killed Cecil the lion?” and “Is it legal to hunt lions?” while Havana, Cuba resulted as the most searched Cuban destination following the ties between US and Cuba.
Pope Francis comes to the US and Queen Elizabeth II’s Milestone
Remember when Pope Francis loped to the US on his first official trip? (“Not really,” says the western part of the country). Cities like The Capital, Philadelphia and New York were the lucky few that were graced with his presence. The pope dominated the search engine in September with 14 million US searches that ranged from how old he was to where he was visiting.
Globally, we owe the virtual attention to Queen Elizabeth II, who reached a recognized milestone as the longest-reigning British monarch and longest-serving Queen in our history. Appropriately, online searchers were curious about how old the queen was and for how long she had reigned.
Mars, Attacks in Paris, and Star Wars
While you were prospecting your next Halloween costume, the world was obsessed with Mars. An astronomical 10 million searches orbited around Mars with queries including, “How long does it take to get to Mars?” and grade-school stuff like “How far is Mars from earth?”. When the geniuses at NASA unearthed (or unmarsed) water elusively flowing on the red planet’s surface, this paved the way for our search for life beyond Earth and instilling hope for Mars One.
If only Matt Damon knew about this sooner, he wouldn’t need to produce his own source of water by extracting hydrogen and rocket fuel and you know, doing science stuff with it…
As the year neared its end, we were alerted about a terrorist attack in Paris: a theater, stadium, and a group of restaurants and cafes were attacked, leaving over 130 people dead including the perpetrators. An overwhelming 897 million searches indexed on Google that month of November and the world anxiously wondered, “What happened in Paris?” and “Why did ISIS attack Paris?”
On a lighter note, the end of 2015 also brings us the seventh installment of George Lucas’ perpetual product of genius. Google was bombarded with global searches about Star Wars; yes, the force was strong in this one. Over 155 million searches included an array of questions, particularly pertaining to the new film, The Force Awakens.
Recently proclaimed Star Wars fans were searching in what order they should watch Star Wars, which ranked as a number one query while others asked who the heck Kylo Ren is.
As 2016 comes over the horizon, the world will keep typing away for the next Paula Deen recipe, a highly-anticipated film, (ahem, Deadpool, ahem), the lyrics to a misunderstood rap song, or whatever spontaneous question tickles our curiosity. At that precise moment, Google will generate an answer for us, which will be tucked away into our heads and then inevitably obliterated into our mental abyss.
Because, let’s be real: we are undeniably reliant on Google for answers to life’s most mind-boggling questions.
What do you suppose will be 2016’s top searches for the year? Kim K and Kanye pop out with baby number three? Donald Trump as prez? Let the Tek Team know about the events you hope to see!