In today’s digital world, 93% of all online experiences begin with a search engine, and approximately 12 billion searches are conducted every month in the United States. Of all those queries, a few common terms emerged as Google’s “top trending” topics of 2016.
Most people these days get their news from the Internet, so it’s no surprise that some of the year’s biggest events topped the list. While “Olympics” and “Elections” were the top two searches on Google News, the third most frequently searched for term was “Orlando shooting.”
Immediately after the June 12, 2016 attack inside the Pulse nightclub — now the deadliest mass shooting by a single shooter in U.S. history as well as the deadliest incident of violence against LGBT people in the country — Internet users all across the globe took their questions online, searching for answers as reports of violence flooded in.
Naturally, the Orlando area had the highest concentration of search interest, with the top questions being: “How do I mark myself safe on Facebook?” and “Where can I donate blood in Orlando?”
Americans weren’t the only ones inquiring about the tragedy. Search interest regarding the shooting spiked in more than 30 different countries, including Canada, Mexico, Australia, South Africa, and Singapore.
Other tragic events made Google’s “top trending” list, including the death of legendary musician Prince, whose name was the number two Google search overall. “David Bowie,” who died in January, came in at number seven, and “Hurricane Matthew” was the third most commonly searched term.
Not all of the searches were shrouded in tragedy, though. The top Google search of the year was “Powerball,” and the top two Google News searches were “Olympics” and “Elections.” In fact, eight of the top 10 people searches were either Olympic athletes or presidential candidates.
Google is the world’s largest and most popular search engine, so following the most popular search queries around the world provides relatively accurate insight into what people were talking about and thinking about in 2016.