Every year Google releases its list of annual trends, providing a fascinating insight into the most popular topics and events of the past 12 months.
So what were America’s most asked questions in 2018 according to the search engine? Below we have selected the most searched-for queries in a variety of categories (What is…? Where is…? How to…? etc.) Scroll down to find out more.
Who Won Mega Millions?
This was the most searched-for “Who…” question of the year. The vast majority of the traffic was clocked in October when a “single lucky ticket holder in South Carolina”—who did not want to be identified—claimed a staggering $1.537 billion jackpot in the Mega Millions lottery, amid enormous public interest. The jackpot was the largest in U.S. history, far surpassing the previous record of $656 million, which was shared by winners in Illinois, Kansas and Maryland in March 2012.
Where Is Villanova University?
Villanova is a private research university in Radnor Township, Pennsylvania. In April, two women, including Meredith Chapman, assistant vice president at the university, were found dead in an apparent murder-suicide. Police said an extramarital affair was to blame.
What Is Racketeering?
This search question, which spiked in November, is likely related to rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine, who was charged with six offences, including racketeering, carrying a firearm, assault with a dangerous weapon and conspiracy murder charges, as a result of his association with a violent gang. Racketeering, which is often associated with organized crime, refers to corrupt and deceitful business dealings that involve repeatedly taking money from others. The rapper could face a minimum of 32 years in prison, and his trial is set for next year.
Who Dies in Avengers: Infinity War?
Avengers: Infinity War, which premiered in April, was one of the most talked about films of the year and went on to conquer the box office, becoming the highest-grossing movie of 2018 worldwide, as well as the fourth highest grossing of all time in the United States and Canada. (Warning: spoiler alert for what follows.) It was also notable for the sheer number of superheroes who died, or appeared to disintegrate, when Thanos, the movie’s villain, snapped his fingers at the end of the film and took out 50 percent of the people on Earth, including a host of characters. With the sequel in the franchise—Avengers: Endgame—coming up, fans were presumably keen to know who may be making an appearance and which, if any, of the dead characters will be resurrected.
Here are the characters who died in the traditional way: Heimdall, Loki, Gamora, Vision.
Here are the characters who were vaporized by Thanos at the end: Bucky Barnes, Sam Wilson, T’Challa, Wanda, Drax, Peter Quill, Peter Parker, Stephen Strange, Groot, Mantis, Maria Hill, Nick Fury.
Here are the characters who may have died but are unaccounted for: Shuri, Pepper, Valkyrie, Korg and Miek.
What Is Bitcoin?
This was the most searched-for “What is…” question of 2018, although interest in the query appeared to drop off significantly over the course of the year. The trend is likely explained by the fact that the value of one bitcoin—a digital, decentralized cryptocurrency that can be sent from user to user without an intermediary—reached an all-time high in December 2017 of $19,783.06—an incredible figure given that it was worth less than $1,000 at the beginning of that year. While it lost a third of its value in just 24 hours on December 22, the price remained high in January 2018, although it gradually declined as the year went on. One bitcoin is now worth around $3,400.
Where Is Croatia?
Croatia is a country in southeast Europe, on the Adriatic Sea, with a population of just over 4 million. Despite its small size, the soccer-crazy nation had a remarkable run during the 2018 World Cup this summer, reaching the final but then losing to a strong French team. Although the U.S. soccer team didn’t qualify, “World Cup” was actually America’s most searched-for topic in 2018.
Who Won McGregor vs. Nurmagomedov?
In what was possibly the biggest event in UFC history, mixed martial arts’ undisputed superstar, Irishman Conor McGregor, took on Russian Khabib Nurmagomedov in October at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Nurmagomedov came out on top, winning the fight in the fourth round with a rear naked choke hold, causing McGregor to tap out. However, the fight was marred by ugly scenes immediately afterward, when Nurmagomedov vaulted the cage and began brawling with the Irishman’s team.
What Is DACA?
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is an immigration program that allows some individuals who were brought to the United States illegally as children to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and become eligible for a work permit in the U.S. In September 2017, the Trump administration announced it was rescinding the program, marking the beginning of a tumultuous period, lasting into 2018, in which the program has faced numerous legal challenges, leaving those who had DACA status in legal limbo. On January 9, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ordered a halt to the federal government’s termination of DACA. Currently, the government is not accepting any new applications for the program, but those who had been given the status can apply to renew it.
Where Is Parkland, Florida?
In a horrific year of school shootings in which 113 people died, one massacre stood out as the deadliest. In February, Nikolas Cruz opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland—a city in Broward County, Florida—killing 17 people and injuring 17 others.
How to Vote?
With so much attention on the midterms in November, it’s no surprise that this question was the most searched-for “How to…?” query of the year. The elections—which saw the Democrats gain control of the House of Representatives while Republicans shored up their position in the Senate—had the highest turnout for any midterms since 1914.