Google’s 2018 year in search: the World Cup, US midterm elections, and “Black Panther”

Google has released its annual report on the top search terms for 2018, or as they call it, the “year in search.” The list is organized by category and geographical regions. Here’s my thoughts on several major categories.

Unfortunately, there’s no tech category results offered this year, unlike last year’s list. Granted, the big tech companies have been under close scrutiny this year for less-than-desirable reasons.

Top 10 global search terms

Soccer player
Photo by flooy (Pixabay / CC0)
  1. World Cup
  2. Avicii
  3. Mac Miller
  4. Stan Lee
  5. Black Panther
  6. Meghan Markle
  7. Anthony Bourdain
  8. XXXTentacion
  9. Stephen Hawking
  10. Kate Spade

The top search term, unsurprisingly, is this year’s World Cup, the championship for the world’s most popular sport, soccer.

Other popular searches include:

  • The deaths of various people, including: Avicii (a Swedish DJ); two rappers, XXXTentacion and Mac Miller; Stephen Hawking (the British physicist); American comics icon Stan Lee; Anthony Bourdain (travelogue host); and Kate Spade, the businessperson/fashion designer.
  • The royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in May.
  • The “Black Panther” movie, which took the world by storm in February.

Top 10 US search terms

Vote Here/Vote Aqui election sign
Flickr photo by Erik Hersman
  1. World Cup
  2. Hurricane Florence
  3. Mac Miller
  4. Kate Spade
  5. Anthony Bourdain
  6. Black Panther
  7. Mega Millions Results
  8. Stan Lee
  9. Demi Lovato
  10. Election Results

Unsurprisingly, the United States’ 2018 Google search results have some localized differences:

  • Hurricane Florence, which hit the Carolinas in September.
  • The Mega Millions lottery, which had a record $1.5 billion jackpot in October.
  • The midterm elections in November, which saw the Democrats retake control of the US House of Representatives, plus make massive gains in various state and local elections across the country.
  • Demi Lovato is a pop singer who appeared in Disney Channel’s “Camp Rock” TV movies.

Top 10 movies (US)

Black Panther poster

  1. Black Panther
  2. Incredibles 2
  3. Deadpool 2
  4. Avengers: Infinity War
  5. A Quiet Place
  6. A Star is Born
  7. Bohemian Rhapsody
  8. Venom
  9. Hereditary
  10. The Nun

This list of top films isn’t much of a surprise. “Black Panther” was a major hit; so were the films featuring fellow superheroes/anti-heroes the Incredibles, Deadpool, the Avengers, and Venom.

Top 10 TV shows (US)

Netflix

  1. Roseanne
  2. Altered Carbon
  3. The Haunting of Hill House
  4. American Idol
  5. Lost in Space
  6. Corbra Kai [sic]
  7. Castle Rock
  8. Westworld
  9. Insatiable
  10. On My Block

The top 10 American TV shows, of course, are different from what’s popular globally (where the #1 show is something in Chinese). The most popular English-language show globally is apparently Netflix’s “Altered Carbon,” ranking at #2 (above some show I assume is from Thailand).

Unsurprisingly, “Roseanne” is the most-searched term. The return of “Roseanne” to TV, its star’s ejection from her own show, and the show’s “Hogan Family“-esque revamp into the Roseanne-less “The Connors” were all heavily discussed this year. Of course, this didn’t slow down media conglomerates’ voracious appetite for a nonstop stream of existing-IP-recycling (aka all these reboots).

Another observation is that “Roseanne”/”The Connors” and “American Idol” are the only two shows from the traditional broadcast TV networks. Other than “Westworld” (on HBO), the other TV shows are all from streaming services: four shows are on Netflix, one from Hulu, and one (“Cobra Kai,” the misspelled-in-the-list “Karate Kid” spin-off) is from YouTube. Netflix’s tactic for paying for original programming seems to be paying off in terms of attention.

Other observations

I notice Google lists a lot of political search terms, per the 2018 US midterm elections in November. “Where to vote” and similar questions ranked high.

The most popular video game, unsurprisingly, is Fortnite. I was a bit surprised that Minecraft didn’t appear anywhere on the video game list; I assume it’s still quite popular.

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