20 Years of Top Trending Google Searches
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20 Years of Top Trending Google Searches

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Infographic showing images of search trends on Google over the past 20 years

20 Years of Top Trending Google Searches

For decades, Google search has been a go-to source for many when looking up directions, keeping up with the news, or seeking information on new and unfamiliar topics.

Today, Google processes about 3.5 billion searches per day. Because of its dominant market share, Google holds a vast archive of keyword searches that, when analyzed, provide an interesting glimpse into the key themes that have captured the world’s attention over the years.

This graphic, using data from Google Trends, goes back 20 years and highlights some of the top keyword searches since 2001.

Our editorial team dug through hundreds of top trending search terms from global and U.S. data and hand-selected their top picks, which are featured in the graphic above.

Trending vs. Volume

Before diving in, it’s worth emphasizing how top trending searches differ from popular searches, which are measured by sheer volume.

Trending searches are terms that have recently spiked in popularity. They focus on growth rather than total volume, and in this dataset, trending terms gauge year-over-year growth.

A good example is Donald Trump, who popped up in the news cycle during the 2016 presidential campaign. After the election, interest in Trump remained high. But his name doesn’t pop up on the Google trends list after 2017, since by that point, search volume for Trump had plateaued.

What are the most popular Google search terms, by volume? To be honest, they’re slightly less interesting than the top trending searches — YouTube is number one, followed by Facebook, then WhatsApp web.

The Globalization of Search Trends

The people and topics featured in Google’s top trends lists evolves as time goes on, reflecting broader adoption of the internet (and Google Search) around the world over time. Early themes are tied to mainstream U.S. pop culture and tech trends.

As time goes on, social media and smartphone adoption increase the granularity and volume of searches, resulting in top trends that are more participatory, diverse, and global in nature.

One final variable to keep in mind is that Google itself began to share more detailed search highlights with each passing year.

Two Decades of Google Searches: Macro Insights

Now that we’ve explained what trending searches actually measure, let’s dig into some of the key themes that have emerged over the last two decades of Google searches.

① People Love Sports

Over the last 20 years, sports have remained a continuous trend.

Every four years, the World Cup shows up as a top trending keyword across the globe. The Olympics also makes a regular appearance, along with Olympic athletes like Michael Phelps and McKayla Maroney.

Although the U.S. dominates the list, particularly when it comes to athletes, there’s still a good variety of international sports that go viral, especially as time goes on. In the last two years, cricket, rugby, and soccer have all made the top five trending lists.

② The Emergence of Celebrity 2.0

Over time, you can also see a transition from the conventional celebrity to celebrity 2.0, also known as the social media celebrity. 

In the early 2000s, pop culture icons like Britney Spears, Eminem, and Jennifer Lopez flooded the trending searches, and traditional media forms like TV shows and Movies dominated the mass media categories.  

But by 2011, YouTube stars like Rebecca Black started to make their way on the trending search lists. And in 2014, Meme emerged as a top trending category.

This transition nods to a larger shift in media, as digital has gradually overtaken traditional media as the dominant form of entertainment.

③ Natural Disasters are Top of Mind

Natural Disasters are a key trend throughout this data set as well.

Hurricanes are a particularly trendy word, showing up almost half the time—in eight of the 20 years. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina ranked second in the most searched category across the globe.

It continued to gain global attention—by 2006, Hurricane Katrina was still in the top five trending news searches.

Dig Deeper into Trending Google Searches

Our team enjoyed sifting through 20 years of Google data, and we hope you enjoyed this blast from the past too. If you’d like to dive deeper, you can explore Google’s full dataset here.

Happy searching.

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Ranked: Who’s Won The Most Grammy Awards?

After the latest Grammy Awards, which artist claims the crown for most wins? This graphic shows the artists with the most Grammys as of 2023.

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This graphic shows the artists with the most Grammy awards as of 2023.

Ranked: Who’s Won The Most Grammy Awards?

At the recent 65th Grammy Awards, Harry Styles, Lizzo, and Bonnie Raitt won the year’s biggest awards.

But several other music stars and celebrities, including Beyoncé with four awards from nine nominations, were also feted by the musical community.

The results of the night were historic when it comes to the most Grammy-awarded artists, with a reshuffle happening at the very top. This graphic from Athul Alexander highlights the artists with the most Grammy wins of all time. Data is sourced from the Grammys’ official website and was updated with the latest results as of February 5, 2023.

Most Grammy Award Wins as of 2023

After the latest ceremonies, global megastar Beyoncé tops a list of record holders and fiercely talented artists, just ahead of celebrated composer Sir Georg Solti.

RankArtistGrammy Awards
1Beyoncé32
2Georg Solti31
3Quincy Jones28
4Alison Krauss27
4Chick Corea27
6Pierre Boulez26
7Vladimir Horowitz25
7Stevie Wonder25
7John Williams25
10Jay-Z24
10Kanye West24
12Vince Gill22
12U222
14Pat Metheny20
14Al Schmitt20
14Bruce Springsteen20
14Henry Mancini20
14David Frost20

Despite their closeness in awards received, the two artists are as different as chalk and cheese. On one hand there’s Beyoncé, who has spent 26 years in the industry. She started as a part of the all-girl group Destiny’s Child before beginning her solo career in 2003, finding critical and commercial success in both ventures.

On the other hand is Sir Georg Solti, a renowned conductor. Solti was born in Budapest in 1912, but fled Hungary on account of increasingly harsh anti-Jewish laws, finding refuge in Switzerland right before World War II. Over time he became a conductor and musical director of some of the world’s best orchestras, and was credited with turning around the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Solti is joined by other composers as the most-winning Grammy artists, including Chik Corea, Pierre Boulez, and John Williams. Hip-hop legends Kanye West and Jay-Z are tied for 10th place, with 24 awards each.

Beyoncé Elevating Women Grammy Winners

Even as Beyoncé has now claimed the crown as the most-decorated artist for herself, it is notable that only one other female artist, Alison Krauss, features with her in the ranks of artists with more than 20 Grammys to their name.

RankArtistAwards
1Beyoncé32
2Alison Krauss27
3Aretha Franklin18
4Adele16
5Alicia Keys15
5Cece Winans15
5Bonnie Raitt15
8Leontyne Price13
8Ella Fitzgerald13
8Emmylou Harris13
8Lady Gaga13
12Judith Sherman12
12Taylor Swift12
14Shirley Caesar11
14Linda Ronstadt11
16Chaka Khan10
16Dolly Parton10

The bluegrass singer is well ahead of other notable female winners such as Aretha Franklin (18) and more recent pop icons including Adele (16), Alicia Keys (15), and Lady Gaga (15). Even country singer Dolly Parton has “only” won 10 Grammys despite being a country music legend and pop cultural phenomenon.

The question now becomes, how long will Beyoncé hold onto her new crown (and which artist, if any, will replace her)?

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