Perhaps the best way of figuring out what the biggest of fads of 2017 were is to ask the world’s most popular internet search engine what people were typing.
Firstly, the more unusual ones. We didn’t realise it was actually a thing, but 2017 saw the world become infatuated with unicorns. Google has dubbed the mystical beast the unofficial mascot of the year, with particular fascination coming from San Francisco, New York, London and Bengaluru.
“While we may have reached peak Unicorn with Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino, the craze didn’t stop there,” said Alicia Cormie of the Google Keyword Team. “People gave a unicorn twist to all kinds of foods and searched for unicorn cake, unicorn hot chocolate, unicorn cheesecake and unicorn lemonade.”
And while it might prove to be a very temporary claim to fame for the unicorn, the world’s appetite for cute animals has continued to be insatiable. The stereotype for first-world internet use is cat videos, and they do say stereotypes are generally there for a reason.
Another trend which has become very apparent through social media is the use of memes in everyday conversation. This is perhaps just a continuation of the inability of new generations to discuss matters using words, instead using a series of confusing (and sometimes mistranslated) images, emojis and memes. The most popular memes across 2017 were:
- ‘Cash Me Outside’
- ‘United Airlines’
- ‘Elf on the Shelf’
- ‘What in Tarnation?’
- ‘Mocking SpongeBob’
Finally, sticking with the new generation’s assault on language, Googlers were using the search engine to understand what the latest slang actually means. Whether this is expanding the newest acronyms (WCW (woman crush Wednesday), TFW (that feeling when), STG (swear to God), for example), or full phrases such as ‘What does bibia be ye ye mean’, Google proved a safe haven for anyone who feels a bit left behind.
In terms of the more conventional trends spotted by Google, many of the questions surrounded tragedies and disasters. Whether it was hurricanes in Caribbean, Houston and Florida, or earthquakes in Mexico, the Google team noted more people were asking how they could help than ever before.
The top searches across the year were as follows:
- Hurricane Irma
- iPhone 8
- iPhone X
- Matt Lauer
- Meghan Markle
- 13 Reasons Why
- Tom Petty
- Fidget Spinner
- Chester Bennington
- India National Cricket Team