Year In Review: What The World Searched For In 2016

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2016 is about to end, and we are back again with Year In Review 2016, the annual roundup of what the world searched for on Google this year. Overall this year has been a very eventful one, however many of these events caused major upsets, losses and shocks. Surely this year will go down in memory as one of the years which brought in pain and discomfort to many.

Let us look back at the top 10 events which attracted the most searches on Google and triggered considerable social media activities. Unlike what we did in last year’s review, this time we’re going to focus more on events, instead of individual searches.

Year In Review 2016 – Global

1. US Elections:

The US elections of 2016 were probably one of the most hotly contested and widely followed political events in recent years. America was clearly divided into the supporters of Donald Trump, presidential candidate nominated by the Republican Party candidate, and those of Hillary Clinton, nominee of the Democratic party. Ultimately, Donald Trump emerged as the winner, but not before there were allegations that foreign countries like Russia and social media companies like Facebook had helped Trump to win in an unfair manner. Naturally, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, along with Trump’s better half Melania Trump dominated the search trends for a long time.

2. iPhone 7:

The newest version of Apple’s flagship phone iPhone 7 was launched in September this year, and for months before that the Internet was buzzing with speculation about what it would be like. People went crazy searching for insider news about the specs and features of this newest phone and not surprisingly, iPhone 7 became a trending topic on the Internet for a long time. More than 1 billion units of the phone has been already sold since its launch and even today regular searches for iPhone 7 and its reviews are made by enthusiasts from across the globe.

3. Brexit:

On June 23, 2016, a majority (52%) of the population of the UK voted in a landmark referendum to leave the European Union . This had widespread impact on the politics of Britain, and for weeks before the referendum people were trying to understand the impact of this decision, popularly referred to as Brexit. The various parts of the country were heavily divided on whether to remain in the EU or not. In all, over 30 million people voted, and the results of the referendum caused the then Prime Minister of Britain David Cameron to step down. Theresa May became the new Prime Minister. The decision had widespread ramifications, including Britain losing its AAA credit rating. Even today people continue to search for Brexit, and what its impact will be, when Britain finally leaves the EU in 2019.

4. Rio 2016 Olympics:

205 nations participated in this year’s Olympics which was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from 5th to 25th August 2016. Apart from the usual curiosity and enthusiasm the event attracted, there were many controversies pertaining to the political instability of Brazil, the poor conditions and accommodation facilities in which the athletes were kept, and the widespread health hazards caused by the Zika virus attracted many searches on Google.

5. Celebrity deaths:

2016 resulted in the tragic deaths of many celebrities that the world loved. The list is long, and includes Prince, Muhammad Ali, David Bowie, Christina Grimmie, Leonard Cohen, Juan Gabriel, Alan Rickman, Kimbo Slice, José Fernández and Gene Wilder. The flow of bad news doesn’t seem to end, with fresh news about celebrities expiring still coming in every day. At almost the end of the year, Carrie Fisher, the beloved Princess Leia from the Star Wars series, and her mother, Debbie Reynolds, a popular actress from the 50s and 60s, died on consecutive days.

6. Pokémon go:

This augmented reality game caught the imagination of the people across the world like no other game could in 2016. This game was developed by Niantic, and was released on android, iOS and Apple watches on July 6, 2016. Since then the world went crazy searching for tips and tricks for acing the game, and catching Pokémon’s.

Year In Review 2016 – India:

Much of what the Indians searched for coincides with the global searches. However, there was no dearth of regional searches. Let us look at some of these searches:

1. Demonetisation:

On the evening of November 8, 2016 the Government of India announced that Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes will no longer be valid as legal tender from midnight of the same day onward. This caused widespread reactions, and people scurried to Google in order to understand more about demonetisation. In the weeks following the announcement, billions of words have been written about demonetisation and people have tried to read, understand and react to this decision.

2. Olympic athletes:

 

P.V. Sindhu became the first Indian woman to win a silver medal in the 2016 Summer Olympics. Another Indian gymnast Dipa Karmakar narrowly missed a medal in spite of her stellar performance. India went crazy searching for both of them and they became two of the most searched individuals from India on Google.

3. Surgical strike:

A sudden attack by heavily armed terrorists, believed to be from Pakistan, on an Indian army camp in Uri on 18 September 2016 caused the death of 19 Jawans from the Indian Army. India retaliated by launching a surgical attack on terrorist launch pads in Pakistan occupied Kashmir in the night of 28 – 29 September 2016. This reportedly caused heavy damages to the terrorist installations in POK and killed more than 35 terrorists. Following an announcement about this surprise action being made by the Indian Army on 29 September 2016, “surgical strike” became a most searched term on Google.

4. Blockbuster Movies:

This Year In Review 2016 will not be complete without a mention of the movies whose releases were widely anticipated and searched for. Every year a host of releases both from Bollywood and Hollywood become the talk of the town in India, and this year also was not any different. Whether the controversies surrounding the release of Udta Punjab, the successes of high grossing movies like Sultan or Dangal, or the sheer madness of fans surrounding the release of a Rajnikant movie Kabali, movies dominated the searches round the year. The other movies that drew major search volumes were Airlift, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Hosefull 3, Rustom and Conjuring 2.

5. Sonam Gupta:

 

This is a strange entrant in this Year in Review 2016. Earlier this year, someone posted the photograph of a Rs. 10 currency note with the words “Sonam Gupta Bewafa Hai” written on it. This literally means “Sonam Gupta is unfaithful”. People had fun commenting on this particular picture on social media, and it was eventually forgotten. However, in November after the demonetisation was announced by the Government of India, a new Rs 2000 note resurfaced with the same words written on it, and people went crazy trying to find out who Sonam Gupta is. Probably the real unfaithful Sonam Gupta will never be found out, but we are sure that every Sonam Gupta across India must have felt thrilled as well as uncomfortable with their sudden stardom.

So with that we will end our Year In Review 2016. I’m sure 2017 will be more eventful and a pleasant year, and we will have interesting topics to discuss in the search review we will do for 2017. Till then, have a great 2017.

Happy New Year to all of you.

Images source: NDTV, Wikimedia Commons and various sources on the Internet.
Search Data Source: Google

 

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