“Election results” was the top trending search of the year.


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It’s been an unprecedented year. The world faced a deadly pandemic and the US held its most contentious election in recent history. Those things dominated our focus as we searched the internet in 2020. 

Google on Wednesday released its list of top trending search terms for this year. On top was the phrase “election results.” Coming in at No. 2 was coronavirus. Rounding out the top 3 was Kobe Bryant, the NBA legend who died in a helicopter crash in January. In Google parlance, “top trending” means the terms had the highest spike in traffic over a certain period of time this year compared with last year.

Google is the world’s largest search engine and the most visited site on the internet, so its popular search queries give us a good look into what people were thinking about over the past year. Last year’s top search was Disney+, the streaming service that launched last November. Another top search was Nipsey Hussle, the LA rapper known for his community service who was killed last year. 

It’s no surprise that election results topped Google searches. The company partnered with the Associated Press to display tabulations in real time. The intrigue dragged on long past election night, as counting continued in the following days because of a surge of mail-in ballots. 

But while people flocked to Google search for election results, the company was criticized for letting election misinformation run rampant on YouTube, which Google owns, in the days after the contest. More than a month later, President Donald Trump still hasn’t conceded to President-elect Joe Biden. (Biden was the top trending person and politician searched on Google this year.)

The coronavirus also dominated web searches. Aside from being the top entry, “coronavirus update” and “coronavirus symptoms” were the No. 4 and 5 searches of the year. Earlier on in the pandemic, Google launched a coronavirus hub for its search engine, highlighting statistics, as well as information about testing. 

Below are the full lists:

Searches

  1. Election results

  2. Coronavirus

  3. Kobe Bryant

  4. Coronavirus update

  5. Coronavirus symptoms

  6. Zoom

  7. Who is winning the election

  8. Naya Rivera

  9. Chadwick Boseman

  10. PlayStation 5

News

  1. Election results

  2. Coronavirus

  3. Stimulus checks

  4. Unemployment

  5. Iran

  6. Hurricane Laura

  7. Super Tuesday

  8. Stock market

  9. Murder hornet

  10. Australia fires

People

  1. Joe Biden

  2. Kim Jong Un

  3. Kamala Harris

  4. Ryan Newman

  5. Tom Hanks

  6. Shakira

  7. Tom Brady

  8. Kanye West

  9. Vanessa Bryant

  10. Ghislaine Maxwell

Politicians 

  1. Joe Biden

  2. Kamala Harris

  3. Boris Johnson

  4. Pete Buttigieg

  5. Mike Bloomberg

  6. Andrew Cuomo

  7. Chris Christie

  8. Mike Pence

  9. Andrew Yang

  10. Mitt Romney

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