When reflecting upon 2017, it isn’t so difficult to wonder what the defining moments of the year were. These were months full of natural disaster—from hurricanes to floods to wildfires—in a world brimming with disorder that left most of us reeling in confusion. As Google revealed, the most searched item of 2017 was “Hurricane Irma,” the storm that ravaged many and raised worry in the hearts of more.
When humans want to know or learn more in recent years, often we turn to Google. It’s a crutch in some ways. We trust the algorithm implicitly, even as healthy skepticism skyrockets regarding the flaws and overwhelming power these algorithms might have.
Still. In a year like 2017, sometimes it’s comforting to find answers, regardless of where they’re coming from. And in 2017 people asked Google “how.” The top three results included how to make slime, how to make solar eclipse glasses, and how to buy Bitcoin. Among others were how to watch Mayweather vs. McGregor, how do hurricanes form, how much will the wall cost, how to lose belly fat fast, how to help Puerto Rico, and how many refugees exist in the world.
Other Google trends show who were the most searched people (Matt Lauer, Meghan Markle, Harvey Weinstein, Gal Gadot, Mayweather, Kevin Spacey) and movies (IT, Wonder Woman, Dunkirk, Baahubali 2: The Conclusion) and memes (Cash Me Outside Meme, United Airlines Meme, Elf on the Shelf Meme, Spongebob Mocking Meme, Joe Biden Meme).
Google constructed the lists based on search terms the company stated “had a high spike in traffic in 2017 as compared to 2016.”