From 'world cup' to 'Meghan Markle' – Google top trends for 2018

In many ways looking at what was Googled most often provides a memory recap of the year as it fades away, prior to sharpening up to the year ahead. This handy digest provides clues as to the good and the bad, the key news headlines and the various bits of pop culture with either educated us or led to huge amounts of time being wasted.

Before launching into some headlines, it’s important to note that the way Google calculates its top trends is not by volume of total searches but instead through the increase in interest from 2017 to 2018 in a specific topic.

Global top ten

File photo: Soccer team in action.

File photo: Soccer team in action.

Andrea Wanderer

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So, what have we been looking at? In terms of global searches the top ten were:

1. World Cup

2. Avicii

3. Mac Miller

4. Stan Lee

5. Black Panther

6. Meghan Markle

7. Anthony Bourdain

8. XXXTentacion

9. Stephen Hawking

10. Kate Spade

Google has also put the top searches into a video, on its YouTube platform:

U.S. top ten

Florence is now a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Some weakening is...

Florence is now a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Some weakening is forecast during the next couple of days, but Florence is expected to remain a powerful hurricane through early next week.

NOAA/NWS

There were, however, regional differences. Take the U.S., while the world cup still occupied top spot, below this came an environmental issue of pressing concern – Hurricane Florence. The U.S. top ten searches were:

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1. World Cup

2. Hurricane Florence

3. Mac Miller

4. Kate Spade

5. Anthony Bourdain

6. Black Panther

7. Mega Millions Results

8. Stan Lee

9. Demi Lovato

10. Election Results

How to?

VOTE!

A call to action graphic by obeygiant.com

obeygiant.com

Interestingly, with the U.S., the number one ‘how to…’ search was ‘How to vote?’, followed by ‘How to register to vote?’, perhaps highlighting a lack of clarity with the election system. In many ways the ‘how to…’ searches are more interesting, porviding a benchmark of what people are pre-occupied with during the year. Here’s the U.S. top ten list:

1. How to vote

2. How to register to vote

3. How to play Mega Millions

4. How to buy Ripple

5. How to turn off automatic updates

6. How to get the old Snapchat back

7. How to play Powerball

8. How to buy Bitcoin

9. How to screen record

10. How to get Boogie Down emote

What is?

At the state level lawmakers are embracing Bitcoin and other digital currencies.

At the state level lawmakers are embracing Bitcoin and other digital currencies.

Web-dev-chris

Similarly, so do the ‘what is…’ searches, which can be illuminating when compared year-on-year. The top ten in the U.S. for 2018 were:

1. What is Bitcoin

2. What is racketeering

3. What is DACA

4. What is a government shutdown

5. What is Good Friday

6. What is Prince Harry’s last name

7. What is Fortnite

8. What is a duck boat

9. What is a Yanny Laurel

10. What is a nationalist

Canada top ten

Sweden s women s ice hockey players celebrate after defeating Finland in their women s ice hockey pl...

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Sweden’s women’s ice hockey players celebrate after defeating Finland in their women’s ice hockey playoffs quarter-final game at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games

BRIAN SNYDER, Reuters

With Canada there was a high proportion of sports related searches in the top ten, which was:

1. World Cup

2. Winter Olympic Games

3. Humboldt Broncos

4. Anthony Bourdain

5. Kate Spade

6. Mac Miller

7. Winnipeg Jets

8. Black Panther

9. Avicii

10. Demi Lovato

U.K. top ten

Meghan Markle had interviewed Ptak for her blog

Meghan Markle had interviewed Ptak for her blog

Paul Grover, POOL/AFP/File

For the U.K., there was a tendency towards royalty and celebrity (or just celebrity given the marketing of the Royal Family in 2018). The U.K.’s popular searches were:

1. World Cup

2. Meghan Markle

3. Royal Wedding

4. Black Panther

5. Roxanne Pallett

6. Fortnite

7. Demi Lovato

8. Ant McPartlin

9. A Star Is Born

10. Khloe Kardashian

If 2018 was dominated by anything, it was untimely and unexpected celebrity deaths. For the U.K., in terms of people. the main trending searches extended to DJ and musician Avicii, rapper Mac Miller, legendary comics creator Stan Lee, celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, controversial rapper XXXTentacion, theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, and fashion designer Kate Spade, each of whom passed away during 2018.

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