After causing devastation in the Caribbean earlier this year, Hurricane Irma has topped Google’s list of the most searched things on Google in 2017.
The search giant revealed its annual trends list earlier today, with new Apple models the iPhone 8 and iPhone X following Irma on the global list. Disgraced former The Today Show host Matt Lauer and soon-to-be Princess Meghan Markle make up the top five.
Surprisingly, more global sports fans searched for the Wimbledon tennis tournament than the Super Bowl or Conor McGregor vs Floyd Mayweather fight.
Political searchers were most interested in the French election and the Nintendo Switch topped Microsoft’s competitor console the Xbox One X. Likewise, Cash me Outside girl is 2017’s meme of the year.
Most searched things on Google year-by-year
Following the release of the 2017 most searched things on Google list, we took a look back at what was popular in previous years:
2016 – Pokemon Go
The release of the much-anticipated mobile game Pokémon Go sent fans of the hit franchise wild in July 2016. There were (somewhat questionable) reports of fights, stampedes and even a few deaths as users frantically tried to catch ‘em all. With the hype dying down by the end of the summer, it was likely people rushing to download leaked apk files ahead of launch that pushed it up the search rankings.
2015 – Lamar Odom
Lamar Odom is a former star of the National Basketball Association. However, since retiring he has made a name for himself for all the wrong reasons. As if marrying into the Kardashian family wasn’t bad enough, Odom hit headlines when he was found unconscious at a Las Vegas brothel in October 2015, capturing the attention of searchers.
2014 – Robin Williams
Prior to 2015, nothing seemed to interest searchers more than a celebrity death. Funny man Robin Williams’, who had been gracing our screens for almost 40 years, passing in August 2014 topped the list that year as details of his suicide emerged.
2013 – Nelson Mandela
Nelson mandela’s prolonged illness pushed him to the top of the list in 2013, as searchers checked up on his condition prior to his eventual death at the end of the year. The former President of South Africa topped the likes of Paul Walker and Cory Monteith, who both made the top ten.
2012 – Whitney Houston
Celebrated singer Whitney Houston was found unconscious in a bathtub back in February 2012 and pronounced dead soon after. Details of the singer’s drug use kept the star in the news in the months that followed and ultimately put her top of the 2012 list.
The State of Technology This Week
Pre-2012: fastest rising trends
Between 2007 and 2012, Google didn’t release information on the most searched terms. Instead, the search giants released an annual list of the fastest rising trends.
2011 – Rebecca Black
Despite becoming the most disliked person on YouTube, people searched for child singer Rebecca Black in the masses back in 2011 after her annoyingly catchy song “Friday” went viral. Her newfound fame led to a barrage of abuse and death threats, but if it’s any consolation, she did become one of the the most searched for things on Google in the process.
2010 – Chatroulette
Despite the horror stories that hit the news, warnings from parents and numerous creeps lurking on the online video chat platform, Chatroulette became the go-to online destination for teenagers back in 2010. The site had just 500 users in November 2009, but rapidly rose to 1.5m users by March the next year.
2009 – Michael Jackson
Google’s systems flagged a steep rise in traffic back on June 25, 2009 that the search engine suspected was a targeted Distributed Denial of Service attack. This is when an attacker sends huge amounts of traffic to a website in an attempt to overload the servers and bring it down. However, rather, it was actually millions of people checking whether the news that legendary singer Michael Jackson had passed away was true.
2008 – Sarah Palin
Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin was the star of the 2008 United States presidential campaign. Selected by Republican candidate John McCain as his running mate, Palin soon became an early form of meme as her stupidity started to show, firing her to internet stardom.
2007 – iPhone
Our thirst for technology fired the iPhone to the top of the most searched for things on Google list back in 2007, as Apple’s first generation smartphone “reinvented the phone”, according to Steve Jobs. Ten years on, not much has changed, but that doesn’t stopped us from searching for Apple’s latest devices each year.
2006 – Bebo
While Myspace held the title of most popular social network before Facebook’s emergence, Bebo gave the website a run for its money in 2006. While Myspace attracted an older crowd, Bebo was buoyed by interest from younger audiences. Consequently, it was the internet’s rising trend of 2006.
2005 – Myspace
Myspace briefly became the most visited website in the world in 2006, surpassing Google. The search engine largely contributed to its own (albeit short) downfall, as it directed huge amounts of traffic to the social network.
2004 and 2003 – Britney Spears
Pop singer Britney Spears remains the only search term to top Google’s list two years in a row. Interest peaked due to media stunts, such as her on-stage kiss with Madonna at the 2003 MTV Awards, as well as personal struggles such as her failed marriage to Jason Alexander.
2002 – Spiderman
After waiting more than 30 years for the web-slinging superhero to hit the big screen once again, the release of Spider-Man in 2002 sent Peter Parker to the top of Google’s search trends. The fictional character topped the likes of Shakira, Star Wars and the Winter Olympics.
2001 – Nostradamus
Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, internet users sent Nostradamus to the top of Google’s 2001 search trends list in an early example of fake news spreading over the net. Fake reports led many to believe that the 16th century French prophet has predicted the attacks. However, many investigations have since concluded that it is untrue.