When people are unsure of something in the year 2017, they turn to the source of all knowledge and power: Google.
It’s hard to remember a time when people looked up information in the encyclopedia telling someone to “Google it” would just earn you a blank stare. You could search Bing or Ask Jeeves, but there’s no denying that Google is the most popular way to perform your internet sleuthing.
These past couple of weeks saw surges in terms like bitcoin and net neutrality. But in case you were wondering what the most frequently searched words were for the entire year — including the most searched person — here they are:
1. Negativity reigned supreme for search
There’s a reason why news sources constantly report horrible stories instead of feel-good news — it’s because people are much more likely to read an article with a negative spin. This is due to something called a “negativity bias” — essentially, your brain has a greater sensitivity to bad news. So while there’s tons of awesome stuff going on in the world, you’re less likely to seek it out, and reporters are less likely to publish it. That’s the sad truth.
The overall biggest trending search of the year was Hurricane Irma. This catastrophic Cape-Verde style hurricane caused 134 deaths and more than $100 billion in damage. Because it was terrible, people wanted to know more about it.
2. Donald Trump didn’t even make the top 10
Despite being president of the United States, an overactive Tweeter, and having his name splashed all over the headlines on a daily basis, Donald Trump wasn’t even one of the top 10 searched names of 2017. His wife, Melania Trump, came in at number seven. Maybe because she has much better hair.
3. The most searched people are linked to scandals
Sexual harassment came into the spotlight during the second half of 2017. Thanks to the onslaught of abuse allegations, some of the most frequently searched people of the year also happen to be the ones who were accused of sexual misconduct. And the winner for most searched name of 2017 is …
4. This popular news anchor is the most searched name of 2017
Topping the list for most searched names this year is Matt Lauer. The former Today Show host was accused of sexual misconduct and fired from NBC at the end of November, but his late arrival into the spotlight didn’t stop him from taking home the title of Google’s most searched name in 2017.
Other alleged sexual abusers on the list of most searched names include Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and Bill O’Reilly.
5. Not all the searched names are negative
Just because most people are obsessed with negativity it doesn’t mean that’s the only thing they’re searching. The second most searched name overall — and the number one most searched actor — is Meghan Markle, thanks to her engagement to Prince Harry and upcoming royal wedding.
6. People weren’t the only search terms for 2017
Humans got searched a lot this year, but when people needed a break from learning more about future British royalty and potentially predatory TV show hosts, they turned to man’s best friend instead. The most searched dog breeds for the year in order are Golden Retriever, Poodle, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, French Bulldog, and Australian Shepherd.
7. And finally, people want to know how to do stuff
This year people were interested in learning how to do things. The top “how to” search for 2017 was “how to make slime,” followed by “how to make solar eclipse glasses” and “how to watch the solar eclipse.” And research is a good thing, because looking at the eclipse directly can cause permanent eye damage.
Curious about the rest of the top Google search terms? Find them here.
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