Silly searches ruled the Internet in 2017

January 16, 2018

What are Americans searching for? Money, health, world peace—or is it just a Unicorn mention on Google?

As of April 2017, Google had processed 9.61 billion search queries during the past 12 months, accounting for 63.4% of the U.S. desktop search market—and topping Microsoft Sites (3.7 billion), Yahoo Sites (1.9 billion) and the Ask Network (0.37 billion), according to a report by Statista.

When the Google Keyword Team looked at full results for the year on December 29, they found a motley assortment of searches—none of them related to top U.S. news stories such as President Donald Trump, healthcare, North Korea or immigration.

Indeed, the leading Google searches for the year were driven by quirky and trending interests—among them:

  • Unicorns: “While we may have reached ‘peak Unicorn’ with Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino, the craze didn’t stop there,” said Alicia Cormie, a staff writer on the Google Keyword Team. Others in the food industry capitalized on the trend by offering other unicorn-family foods—unicorn hot chocolate, unicorn cheesecake and unicorn lemonade. While this colorful trend spanned the globe, the most searches came from the cities of San Francisco, New York, London and Bengaluru. Those who jumped on the unicorn food train were likely responsible for making “How many calories are in a Unicorn Frappuccino?” the number one trending calorie-related query.
  • Slime: Slime also had a very big year: “How to make slime?” was the number one globally trending “how- to question of 2017. Searchers wanted to know how to make slime of all types: fluffy, butter, stretchy, jiggly, cloud, clear and glow-in-the-dark. But as the slimy obsession grew, so did its mess. “How to get slime out of carpet?” made its way to one of the 100 globally trending “how to” questions of the year.
  •  Animal attraction: Streaming zoo videos were all the rage. This year’s most searched celebrity animal was April, the mama giraffe that gained worldwide fame after a live video stream of her pregnancy. April’s moment in the spotlight had the question “How long are giraffes pregnant for?” trending in Alaska. Next up in top-searched celebrity animals was Fiona, the premature baby hippo, followed by Marnie, the Instagram-famous senior rescue dog.
  • Meme, myself and I: From a dancing hot dog to a distracted boyfriend, viral images brought comic relief, heavy doses of sarcasm and unending creativity to the Internet. According to search data, the five most trending memes of 2017 were: “Cash Me Outside,” “United Airlines,” “Elf on the Shelf,” “What in Tarnation?” and “Mocking SpongeBob” as people sought to get in on the joke.
  • Say what?: Finally, Americans also used searches to quickly decode the latest slang. Trending acronyms this year included WCW (woman crush Wednesday), TFW (that feeling when), STG (swear to God), GOAT (greatest of all time), and OFC (of course). And from “What does despacito mean?” to “What does bodak yellow mean?” to “What does bibia be ye ye mean?”, we searched for the meanings of popular songs—then got back to the dance floor.

Be on the lookout: This year is bound to bring a new batch of screwy searches.

Research contact: @aliciajean

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