Google has released its list of the top trending searches in the US for 2020, and as one might expect, “coronavirus,” “election results,” and “Zoom” led the way. To be clear: these aren’t top searches or most-searched topics. Rather, they’re “searches that had a high spike in traffic over a sustained period in 2020 as compared to 2019,” Google said. As year-in-review content goes, it’s pretty depressing; also among the top trending searches were Kobe Bryant, Naya Rivera, and Chadwick Boseman, all of whom died in 2020.
Google’s top trending searches in news included “stimulus checks,” as the government’s distribution of $1,200 payments didn’t exactly go smoothly; “unemployment,” as millions lost their jobs due to pandemic lockdowns; “Australia fires” which, I have to be honest, I forgot was actually this year; “Super Tuesday”; and “Hurricane Laura.” Also among the top news results was the creature that should probably be the mascot for this hellscape of a year: the “murder hornet.”
The top people in Google’s trending searches included President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Kanye West, Tom Brady, Tom Hanks, and North Korea leader Kim Jong Un.
All in all, it’s been a pretty terrible year, and the search topics mostly bear it out. But there were a few bright spots in the entertainment categories — and thank goodness for streaming services because we really needed the distraction while we were all locked down.
Under movies, the top trending searches were for Best Picture winner Parasite, Black Panther, Sonic the Hedgehog, Little Women, and Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey. Netflix dominated the top trending TV shows, which included the one we could not escape no matter how hard we tried: Tiger King, along with The Queen’s Gambit, Cobra Kai, Outer Banks, and Ozark as well as Hulu’s Little Fires Everywhere.
And under games, the little game that could from 2018, Among Us, topped the 2020 list, along with Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout, Valorant, The Last of Us 2, and, of course, Animal Crossing.
There was also a “during coronavirus” trending search category; people wanted to know whether they could visit the dentist, buy a house, find a job, date, or get an Uber.
So that’s what searches trended on Google in 2020, a year that felt decades long. Let’s meet back here next year, when, hopefully, things are looking a bit brighter.