As the world’s largest search engine in terms of market share, Google’s “Year In Search” list is a pretty good gauge of the zeitgeist. Over the past twelve months, basketball player Lamar Odom, the terrorist attacks in Paris, and action game Agar.io made the list of the most popular queries.
(It’s important to note that since Google only counts its own results, countries that favor other search engines, like China, Russia, Japan, and South Korea, aren’t as well-represented in the Year In Search as the United States and other markets that Google dominates).
In 2015, Google counted more than 897 million searches about Paris, which suffered two major terrorist attacks: the massacre at the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in January and the November 13 shootings at several locations, including the Bataclan concert hall.
Immediately after the November attacks, Google saw the most searches about the city ever performed in its history. The top question from France and globally was “What happened in Paris?” People within the country were concerned about safety and memorial events, asking “Who were the terrorists?” while also looking for information on “Pray for Paris” and the city’s curfew. Globally, the most popular questions asked why ISIS targeted Paris, whether or not it was safe to travel to the city, and how many people died.
In pop culture, “Star Wars” garnered more than 155 million searches ahead of its Dec. 14 premiere, but the most searched about film title was actually “Jurassic World” (though Google didn’t break down how many queries were about how the lead managed to avoid getting eaten while running around in high heels, a controversial costuming choice).
The three public figures people were most curious about (at least on Google) were Odom, wrestler Ronda Rousey, and Caitlyn Jenner, who announced her gender transition on ABC News’ “20/20” in April.
Donald Trump has dominated much of U.S. political discourse since summer when he emerged as the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, but despite making a series of increasingly incendiary comments about minorities (including calling for a ban on Muslim travel to the U.S.) Trump only came in seventh place in Google’s list of the top people searched in 2015, placing beneath Charlie Sheen and Ruby Rose.