When faced with any sort of conundrum these days, our first instinct is often to “Google it.”
Why do dogs wag their tail? How to do the Kylie Jenner lip challenge? What is a Lunar Eclipse?
These questions were among the queries most frequently typed into the search box that has become the great oracle of digital information. Google’s annual round-up of trends from the past year not only offer an album of the biggest stories of 2015 – they give an intimate glimpse into our preoccupations, our hopes and our worries.
Among the questions featured in Google’s promotional video for the compilation were: “How can I help refugees?” “Why can’t women be army rangers?” and “What does the Confederate flag stand for?”
And of course, how could we forget – “What color is the dress?”
(For those who somehow missed it, “The Dress” was a viral phenomenon stemming from a wedding dress that appeared blue to some and white to others. There’s a scientific explanation for why it looks different to different people, but chaos and fervent debate nevertheless ensued.)
Worldwide, the most searched item was Lamar Odom, the former Los Angeles Lakers star and Kardashian husband who was found unconscious at Nevada’s “Love Ranch” this October. Searches for Odom eclipsed those for Charlie Hebdo and Paris, as well as for another Kardashian relative – Caitlyn Jenner.
Just behind Odom in the U.S. were two movies: “Jurassic World” and “American Sniper.”
There have been 897 million searches for Paris, the target of deadly terrorist attacks in November. The year also saw 23 million searches about the migrant crisis. According to Google senior vice president Amit Singhal, users in Italy asked, “How to adopt a Syrian orphan child?” while those in Germany wondered, “Where are the refugees coming from?”
“Guns in America” were the subject of over 160 million searches, prompting questions such as “what is gun control,” “why do we need gun control” and “why won’t gun control work.”
In the most-searched people list, Donald Trump was probably disappointed that he ranked fourth, below Odom, Jenner and Ultimate Fighting Champion Ronda Rousey.
After a hiatus that was excruciating for her numerous fans, Adele came back with an album, “25,” that topped both the musical and search charts. There were 439 million searches related to the British artist, whose single “Hello” broke records for digital sales.
The most widely searched gif of 2015, courtesy of actor and performance artist Shia LaBeouf, sends a fitting message for those pondering New Year’s Resolutions. It stars an aggressive LaBeouf shouting “Just do it! Don’t let your dreams be dreams.”