Year in Search 2016: Google Unveils the Year's Most Popular Searches
Article by George Norman
On 14 Dec 2016
Google’s Year in Search page for 2016 is finally available to the public. It lists the year’s top trending searches around the world and in the US, the year’s most popular tech, the year’s biggest losses, and much more.

Before we get started, I have to remind you about Bing’s end of the year recap, Yahoo’s Year in Review 2016, and Facebook’s Year in Review 2016. Ok, that’s it. Let’s get started!

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Top 10 Trending Google Searches of 2016 (Global)
  • 10. Suicide Squad
  • 9. Slither.io
  • 8. Olympics
  • 7. Deadpool
  • 6. David Bowie
  • 5. Powerball
  • 4. Prince
  • 3. Donald Trump
  • 2. iPhone 7
  • 1. Pokémon Go


Still playing Pokémon Go? I for one gave it up. The broken tracker, the battery issues, the fact that there aren’t many Pokémon in my region, and several other factors pushed me towards this decision.

But if you didn’t give up and you’re still playing Pokémon Go, I have some good news for you. Niantic recently announced that they’re introducing new Pokémon and a limited edition Pikachu that wears a festive hat to celebrate the holiday season.


Top 10 Trending Google Searches of 2016 (US)
  • 10. Hillary Clinton
  • 9. Election
  • 8. Trump
  • 7. David Bowie
  • 6. Olympics
  • 5. Slither.io
  • 4. Pokémon Go
  • 3. Hurricane Matthew
  • 2. Prince
  • 1. Powerball
The main reason why Powerball took the top spot on the list is because of the record-breaking $1.5 billion jackpot from January. "Search interest in Powerball spiked more than 166 percent, and it’s the top trending search for all of 2016," said Google’s VP of Search, Ben Gomes.


Top 10 Trending News of 2016 (Global)
  • 10. Kumamoto Earthquake
  • 9. Dallas Shooting
  • 8. Brussels
  • 7. Nice
  • 6. Panama Papers
  • 5. Zika Virus
  • 4. Orlando Shooting
  • 3. Brexit
  • 2. Olympics
  • 1. US Election


People who use Yahoo to search the web also showed a lot of interest in the 2016 Presidential Election. The US Election took the top spot on Yahoo’s Top 10 Searches of 2016. And Election Day took the top spot on Yahoo’s Top 10 News Stories of 2016.


Top 10 Trending News of 2016 (United States)
  • 10. Aleppo
  • 9. Panama Papers
  • 8. Nice France
  • 7. Brussels
  • 6. El Chapo
  • 5. Zika Virus
  • 4. Brexit
  • 3. Orlando Shooting
  • 2. Election
  • 1. Olympics


The torch for the 2016 Summer Olympics has an aluminum body and a very interesting telescopic design that’s meant to represent "harmonious diversity, contagious energy and exuberant nature." That being said, I have but one question for you: do you want to see what’s inside one of these things?


Top 10 Consumer Tech of 2016 (Global)
  • 10. Samsung J7
  • 9. Nintendo Switch
  • 8. Note 7
  • 7. iPhone 7 Plus
  • 6. Samsung Galaxy S7
  • 5. Google Pixel
  • 4. iPhone 6S
  • 3. iPhone SE
  • 2. Freedom 251
  • 1. iPhone 7


Apple’s iPhone 7 comes with an advanced camera, improved battery life, a better processor, water and dust resistance, and… no headphone jack. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still use your old headphones. You just need some extra accessories.


Top 10 Consumer Tech of 2016 (United States)
  • 10. PS4 Pro
  • 9. Playstation VR
  • 8. Galaxy S7
  • 7. NES Classic Edition
  • 6. iPhone 7
  • 5. Nintendo Switch
  • 4. Iphone 7 Plus
  • 3. Google Pixel
  • 2. iOS 10
  • 1. iPhone SE


Back in March, Apple held a special press event at its HQ in Cupertino and made 7 important announcements. One of them was the introduction of the iPhone SE. It features a 4-inch display, an aluminum case with matte-chamfered edges, four metallic finishes, and Apple’s logo in aluminum. Under the hood it has the powerful 64-bit A9 chip from the iPhone 6S, a 12MP iSight camera that can record 4K video, and either 16GB or 64GB of storage space.


Top 10 Trending Movies of 2016 (Global)
  • 10. Hacksaw Ridge
  • 9. The Conjuring 2
  • 8. Zootopia
  • 7. Finding Dory
  • 6. Doctor Strange
  • 5. Batman v Superman
  • 4. Captain America Civil War
  • 3. The Revenant
  • 2. Suicide Squad
  • 1. Deadpool


2016’s action adventure movie starring Ryan Reynolds has an impressive rating of 84% on Rotten Tomatoes. Suicide Squad on the other hand has a rotten rating of just 26%.

Unfortunately for Ryan Reynolds, he did not make it onto IMDb’s Top 10 Stars of 2016. Morena Baccarin , who plays Vanessa in Deadpool, did make it onto the top 10 though.


Top 10 TV Shows of 2016 (Global)
  • 10. Soy Luna
  • 9. Descendants of the Sun
  • 8. The Night Of
  • 7. The Crown
  • 6. Fuller House
  • 5. Black Mirror
  • 4. Game of Thrones
  • 3. Luke Cage
  • 2. Westworld
  • 1. Stranger Things


"A love letter to the supernatural classics of the 80's, Stranger Things is the story of a young boy who vanishes into thin air. As friends, family and local police search for answers, they are drawn into an extraordinary mystery involving top-secret government experiments, terrifying supernatural forces and one very strange little girl."


Top 10 Losses of 2016 (Global)
  • 10. José Fernández
  • 9. Gene Wilder
  • 8. Kimbo Slice
  • 7. Juan Gabriel
  • 6. Leonard Cohen
  • 5. Muhammad Ali
  • 4. Alan Rickman
  • 3. Christina Grimmie
  • 2. David Bowie
  • 1. Prince


Prince died in April, at the age of 57. The singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer died from a fentanyl overdose at his Paisley Park recording studio and home in Chanhassen, Minnesota.

We lost a lot of celebrities this 2016. IMDb even set up an In Memoriam page to pay homage to those working in the entertainment industry who passed away in 2016.


Top 10 Video Games of 2016 (United Stated)
  • 10. Call of Duty Infinite Warfare
  • 9. No Man's Sky
  • 8. Madden 17
  • 7. Blade and Soul
  • 6. Dark Souls 3
  • 5. Warcraft
  • 4. Battlefield 1
  • 3. Overwatch
  • 2. Agar.io
  • 1. Slither.io


In Slither.io you are a worm and your goal is to eat multicolored pellets and grow longer. The longer you are, the better your chances or defeating other players. If your head touches another player, you will explode and then it's game over. But if others run into you, then they will explode, and you can eat their remains!


Top 10 Actors of 2016 (United States)
  • 10. Lin-Manuel Miranda
  • 9. Taylor Lautner
  • 8. Sebastian Stan
  • 7. Thomas Gibson
  • 6. Jeffrey Dean Morgan
  • 5. Tom Holland
  • 4. Jesse Williams
  • 3. Adam Driver
  • 2. Tom Hiddleston
  • 1. Brad Pitt


Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are no longer an item. Their 5 years long marriage has ended and the two are in a bitter custody battle over the six children they have together, three of whom were adopted.


Top 10 Actresses of 2016 (United States)
  • 10. Millie Bobby Brown
  • 9. Alicia Vikander
  • 8. Kate McKinnon
  • 7. Leslie Jones
  • 6. Jenna Dewan Tatum
  • 5. Brie Larson
  • 4. Daisy Ridley
  • 3. Jodie Sweetin
  • 2. Marion Cotillard
  • 1. Meghan Markle


Meghan Markle is best known for her television role as Rachel Zane on the legal drama Suits (which I stopped watching once they put Mike Ross in jail). Off-screen, she’s known for the fact that she’s in a relationship with Prince Harry.


Top 10 Musicians of 2016 (Global)
  • 10. Lukas Graham
  • 9. Ozuna
  • 8. Grace Vanderwaal
  • 7. Teyana Taylor
  • 6. Kehlani
  • 5. Dean Fujioka
  • 4. Creed
  • 3. Michael Bublé
  • 2. Kesha
  • 1. Céline Dion


Beyoncé is missing from the global musicians top 10. She isn’t missing from the US top 10 though. In the United States, Céline Dion is #2 and Beyoncé is #1 on the list of top 10 trending musicians. Furthermore, Beyoncé’s Formation is ranked #1 on the list of top trending US songs.


Want more Year in Search fun?

These are just a few of the trending terms that made up 2016. Visit Google’s Year in Search 2016 for more end of the year top 10 lists.

And if you’re feeling nostalgic, check out Google’s Year in Search for 2015 and 2014.




Tags: Google, Year in Search, year in review, Pokemon Go, Powerball, US Election, Olympics, iPhone 7, iPhone SE, Deadpool, Stranger Things, Prince, Slither.io, Brad Pitt, Meghan Markle, Celine Dion, Beyonce
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
You can follow him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter

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