The top search term was for a disaster. The No. 1 searched person was a man accused of sexual harassment. And the most-searched how-to was how to make slime.
It was a slimy year, perhaps.
The year 2017 was captured in global search data released by Google this week in all of its tumultuous, emotional and eventful splendor.
Hurricane Irma, which roared through Florida in early September after days of speculation, led the company’s global searches.
Former NBC “Today” show host Matt Lauer, who was fired in November as part of a wave of men who found themselves the subject of sexual misconduct allegations, was the most-searched-for person and one of the three in the top five who were in the news because of that type of allegations. The others were Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein.
Global news searches revolved around similarly bleak events such as the Las Vegas shooting, the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, and North Korea, as tensions between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un renewed fears of a global nuclear confrontation. The bitcoin frenzy and August’s solar eclipse also cracked the global news search.
In the company’s data for the United States, protests and rallies, such as those in the National Football League, Charlottesville and Berkeley, Calif., were in the limelight. Starbucks’s Unicorn Frappuccinos were Googled by those searching about calories more than any other food.
People wanted to know what antifa is, the group of black-clad anti-fascist activists who have become a boogeyman for the far-right, and net neutrality, the Obama-era regulation that prevents telecommunications companies from offering different Internet speeds for different websites and digital services. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, an Obama-era program that provided a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants brought here as children, was the subject of a large number of searches, too, Google said.
[Google’s breakdown of what Americans don’t know how to spell, state by state]
It wasn’t all doom and gloom. Meghan Markle, whose engagement to Prince Harry charmed the world, was the most-searched-for actor in the world. Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble,” was the sixth-most-searched-for song. The first? Luis Fonsi’s global anthem “Despacito,” featuring Daddy Yankee.
Slime, a squishy concoction beloved by children that you can make at home, is perhaps not so bad. Joining it on the how-to list were how to make solar eclipse glasses, buy bitcoin and make a fidget spinner.
There were some upsets in the rankings, too. Wimbledon, pleasant, civil Wimbledon, topped the Super Bowl and the fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor as the most-searched-for sporting event in the world.
Pogaca tarifi, a Turkish bread, was the third-most-searched-for recipe, behind “ground beef” and “chicken breast” (Side note: Those aren’t recipes).
Do you have a guess for the top meme search? It’s the “Cash me outside howbowdah” girl, Danielle Peskowitz Bregoli, who was back on Dr. Phil after her first appearance in 2016 started the meme. Others included memes about Elf on the Shelf, Joe Biden, SpongeBob SquarePants and rompers. Any questions? Ask your niece. Or just Google it.