Google Trends has released the most-searched terms, questions, and more in its annual “Year in Search” list — and the phrases that were often entered in 2018 shed light on what was tops on Americans’ minds this year. The list was based on search terms that had the highest spike this year as compared to last year.
Unsurprisingly, there were some Massachusetts connections. (Because, of course, there’s always a Massachusetts connection.)
For example, the World Series-winning Boston Red Sox team made the top 10 sports teams list, as did the Boston Celtics.
And, if we wanted to stretch a bit, we could also find local connections for terms like “CBD gummies” in legal-weed-Massachusetts; “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,” a BU graduate-turned-congresswoman; Shelburne Falls homeowner “Bill Cosby” (who was sentenced in September to 3 to 10 years in state prison); and “Avengers: Infinity War,” which co-stars Sudbury native Chris Evans.
Google also released a video to accompany its list that showed a montage of global moments and key searches from 2018. In past years, the tone of the “search” videos have oscillated from hopeful to heavy. This year, the company decided to focus the video around the theme, “Good things are worth searching for.”
Some of the searches seemed almost comical. In the beauty category, most queries tended to focus on eyelashes: “How to apply magnetic lashes” (that’s a thing?), “what is a lash lift,” and “how to remove individual eyelashes” were the top three questions.
Meghan Markle also appeared to have quite the sway on online searchers. The newly married actress-turned-duchess came in second in the people category (behind only Demi Lovato, who publicly struggled with mental illness this year), and Markle was also among the top five searches in Google’s fashion category. (We’re surprised that her wedding dress alone didn’t make the list.)
Apparently, a few celebrity deaths also seemed to hit Americans especially hard. Three of the top five overall searches were for public names who died this year: 26-year-old musician Mac Miller, fashion designer Kate Spade, and beloved celebrity chef and CNN journalist Anthony Bourdain.
The midterms also seemed to have sparked a number of politically motivated questions. Among searching for specific politicians by name, people also searched for how to get involved — at least, if the number one search “How to vote” proves anything. (Number two was a prerequisite of sorts for the first: “How to register to vote.”)
Meanwhile, the number one search overall and in the news category might show just how popular soccer is: “World Cup” topped both lists, with the five most-searched teams being Mexico, Brazil, Germany, Argentina, and Croatia. The most-Googled World Cup phrases were ones looking for specifics — times, winners, and scores. (If you’re wondering who won the World Cup this year, we’ll save you a search: It was France.)
And “Hurricane Florence,” which battered the Carolinas at the end of the summer, came in at number two in both those categories as well.
In a year of high-profile weddings, it makes sense that Priyanka Chopra’s wedding to former boyband heartthrob Nick Jonas was searched. But somehow, in all the celebrity nuptials, we missed that Kat Von D was even engaged, let alone got married. But thanks to Google, many searchers will now know that the tattoo artist and entrepreneur married Prayers band member Rafael Reyes back in February.
Maddie Kilgannon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.