Top Google Searches Of 2016: Powerball, Prince, Hurricane Matthew

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Another year that is nearly over means another year of search terms has been analyzed by the big G. And despite all of the political upheaval, sports doping, corruption, and war, 2016’s top Google searches are not what many expected. Yes, many topics you would expect made it into the top 10, but the first three are placed higher than you’d think they would be.

top google searches 2016

And the top Google searches of 2016 are…

Why does any company with access to vast amounts of data analyze it? The answer to that question would be to understand better what its users want so that it can then provide exactly that. However, what kind of glimpse into the purchasing/searching psyche would this year’s results provide?

We’re not sure, but with the top three results being “Powerball,” “Prince,” and “Hurricane Matthew,” here’s wishing those intelligent people over at Google HQ good luck discerning something from them.

Given the downright nastiness of the U.S. election and its two marmite-like characters at the helm, you would be forgiven for being surprised that neither of their names made it into the top three. So let’s have a look at the topics that did:


Just in case you don’t know, “Powerball” refers to the massive $1.56 billion jackpot three lucky winners shared in January. The news and social media coverage of this huge windfall dominated searches for some time afterward, which is why it managed to gain the top spot on Google’s list.


You may be too young to realize the amount work that the artist known as Prince put into his music and performances. More than just an artist, he was a singer, songwriter, producer, and talented musician who was often referred to as the best guitarist in the post-Hendrix generation.

However, it could be that his sudden death on April 21, caused a stir in searches, ultimately placing him at second place in the Google searches list for this year.

Hurricane Matthew

Third on the list is the hurricane which rocked the western Atlantic coast in September and October. Luckily, modern technology gave those in the path of this vicious storm warning enough to be able to move out of its path. However, that didn’t mean everyone could go and take their belongings with them.

Ultimately, the storm caused some 1,600 deaths, and the final total cost of repairing the damage has been estimated to be $10.5 billion.

The top 10 Google searches of 2016

The following are the top trending topics for 2016, with “trending” meaning the topics that were most searched during the year.

  1. Powerball
  2. Prince
  3. Hurricane Matthew
  4. Pokemon Go
  6. Olympics
  7. David Bowie
  8. Trump
  9. Election
  10. Hilary Clinton

Other trends monitored by Google

As well as the above, Google monitors consumer trends, global sporting events, TV shows, musicians, and movies. Strangely, though, it assumes we would want to know what its results show. So it has created a video called a year in search which highlights the top happenings in the past year. You can view that video below:

YouTube video

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