Top Google Searches of 2016: What The World Was Looking For

What were you Googling that year?

Google releases a collection of what the world was searching for at the close of every year. This list reflects what we were most interested in as a global culture, and provides an intriguing way to collate and process what most captivated us as a society.

What Did People Look for in 2016?

Google Year in Search 2016



At the close of every year, the world's most popular search engine, Google, releases a comprehensive list of the most searched for queries worldwide in a variety of categories, anything from Entertainment to Politics to Sports. It's always fascinating to look back on what we were searching for, to see what we were collectively interested in and look forward to the year ahead. In this article, we'll take a high-level look at what the most popular Google searches were in 2016. 

Top Searches

Woman looking at smartphone
Credit: TaPhotograph

The top overall Google searches for 2016 reflected our society's interests in culture, entertainment, and politics. The gaming phenomenon Pokemon Go was incredibly popular, as was the new Apple gadget, who won the Powerball, and the untimely deaths of superstars Prince and David Bowie. 

  1. Pokémon Go
  2. iPhone 7
  3. Donald Trump
  4. Prince
  5. Powerball
  6. David Bowie
  7. Deadpool
  8. Olympics
  10. Suicide Squad

Global News

Group of people holding
Credit: Getty Images

People all over the world searched for these events more than any others in 2016. The US election was the top search overall globally in the category of news events, outpacing the Olympics, the controversial Brexit decision, and the tragic shooting in Orlando. 

  1. US Election
  2. Olympics
  3. Brexit
  4. Orlando Shooting
  5. Zika Virus
  6. Panama Papers
  7. Nice
  8. Brussels
  9. Dallas Shooting
  10. Kumamoto Earthquake

As always, sports events also garnered a huge amount of searches globally. Historically, any year that is an Olympics year sees that search take the top spot in Google, and 2016 is no exception to that rule - although the World Series did almost take that first place position. Here are the top sports-related events searches for 2016:

  1. Rio Olympics
  2. World Series
  3. Tour de France
  4. Wimbledon
  5. Australian Open
  6. EK 2016
  7. T20 World Cup
  8. Copa América
  9. Royal Rumble
  10. Ryder Cup


the top people searches of 2016
Credit: Pete Saloutos

Who we searched for in 2016 reflects what was most on the vast majority of people's minds in 2016: the US election, politics, the Olympics, and as always, entertainment. Not surprisingly looking at the trends on other 2016 Google top search charts, Trump ended up being the person most searched for globally in 2016, followed by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, Melania Trump and gold medal-winning gymnast Simone Biles. 

  1. Donald Trump
  2. Hillary Clinton
  3. Michael Phelps
  4. Melania Trump
  5. Simone Biles
  6. Bernie Sanders
  7. Steven Avery
  8. Céline Dion
  9. Ryan Lochte
  10. Tom Hiddleston

In addition, the world lost a few of its best and brightest, as reflected in the following searches. 2016 saw the loss of great entertainers to stars of the stage to sports superstars. 

  1. Prince
  2. David Bowie
  3. Christina Grimmie
  4. Alan Rickman
  5. Muhammad Ali
  6. Leonard Cohen
  7. Juan Gabriel
  8. Kimbo Slice
  9. Gene Wilder
  10. José Fernández


most popular Google entertainment searches of 2016
Credit: Image Source

One of the most popular ways to use a search engine is to simply look up information about something we want to watch or listen to. That trend seemed to continue in 2016, as the most popular entertainment searches across movies, music, and television reflect below. 

The top movie searches in 2016 seem to reflect our love of superhero movies, in a variety of genres. Deadpool, a dark breakout superhero hit, won the top search spot in 2016, followed by another dark superhero movie. In fact, out of the ten searches on this list, five are superhero movies, which is a trend that has not necessarily been seen before. For movies, the top Google searches of 2016 were:

  1. Deadpool
  2. Suicide Squad
  3. The Revenant
  4. Captain America Civil War
  5. Batman v Superman
  6. Doctor Strange
  7. Finding Dory
  8. Zootopia
  9. The Conjuring 2
  10. Hacksaw Ridge

Singer Celine Dion topped the list of most searched for musicians this year, followed by Kesha, Michael Buble, Creed, and Dean Fujioka. For music and musicians, the top Google searches of 2016 were:

  1. Céline Dion
  2. Kesha
  3. Michael Bublé
  4. Creed
  5. Dean Fujioka
  6. Kehlani
  7. Teyana Taylor
  8. Grace Vanderwaal
  9. Ozuna
  10. Lukas Graham

Interestingly enough, in 2016 , all five of the top five searches reflect shows that were not on traditional network TV. For​ ​television, here's what we searched for most in 2016:

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