The biggest Google trends of 2016 – from iPhone 7 to Stranger Things

22 Dec 2016


2016 will go down as one of the most notable years in recent history. But what were we searching for? See the year in Google searches – and the story behind them…


Apple iPhone 7

When Apple launches a new iPhone, the world sits up and listens - so it’s no surprise the iPhone 7 was the second top trending global search on Google for 2016, despite only being unveiled in September. When iPhone 7 launched, its lack of a traditional headphone socket grabbed the headlines. But Apple has a history for innovation and for leading where others follow.iPhone 7

It instead designed its own ‘magical’ wireless headphones called AirPods – they work with Siri so you can ask them to turn up the volume or even make a call. You can also use the lightning connecter if you prefer a wired connection, or use other wireless headphones.

Other cool features of the iPhone 7 included waterproofing (to depths of 1 metre for 30 minutes) and an improved camera with optical image stabilisation and better low-light photography for dedicated iPhone photographers.

Get your hands on the iPhone 7


Pokemon Go

Pokemon was a hugely popular mid-90s Game Boy game that boasted trading cards, cartoons and legions of young fans – it became a cultural phenomenon. It made a return in 2016 in the shape of Pokemon Go – an augmented reality game played on your smartphone. It uses your phone’s GPS to direct you around the real world searching for virtual monsters.Pokemon Go

And it was hugely successful – becoming the top trending global search on Google and the second-top UK search. Who’s playing it? It’s two-pronged – the original Pokemon fans from the mid-90s soaking up the nostalgia, and current teenagers embracing the world of Pikachu for the first time.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, how to play Pokemon Go topped Google’s How To searches for UK. Keep your phone juiced while out playing with the Pokemon Power Bank


Stranger Things

Stranger Things, an 80s-set sci-fi-mystery and Netflix original series, was among the best shows of 2016 so it’s no surprise it’s the top trending global TV show on Google.

Viewers loved its twisting-turning plot about the disappearance of Will Byers and his friends’ attempts to find him. One of its stars, 12-year-old Millie Bobby Brown, is now touted as a future superstar. Visually, it’s incredible – a love letter to the 80s that captures the spirit and feel of films like Stand By Me and ET with superb period detail and a retro feel. 

In the same way as shows like Game of Thrones have, it captured imaginations to become a ‘watercooler moment’. Something you’d talk about at work the day after it was broadcast.

Only it wasn’t really a watercooler moment as it wasn’t broadcast – the whole series was made available to stream online at any time you wanted on Netflix. You could watch them one-by-one or in a single great big binge. On your TV or your iPad. Stranger Things looks great on most TVs, but if you have a 4K TV and a Netflix premium package it’ll look incredible. That's because Stranger Things streams in 4K HDR. 4K TVs and content pack in 4 times the detail of Full HD, and prices for the TVs are falling.

4K TV to suit different budgets


How to…

When we want to know something nowadays we inevitably turn to Google – whether that’s cooking, getting fit or deciding what to wear.

The biggest Google trending searches in the UK around fashion and style were how to make your hair grow faster (Beauty) and how to get ink out of clothes (Fashion). When it came to food we wanted to know how to make fish batter and how to make Yorkshire puddings. After all that batter, how to lose weight well was a top term.

Why’re we searching for ‘how to’? The rise of YouTube vloggers or video bloggers. These guys have made YouTube their job and many have earnt millions and become celebs using little more than a laptop, a camera and plenty of nous.Madeleine Shaw

There are YouTube channels offering lifestyle tips for pretty much everything. We talked to wellness blogger Madeline Shaw and travel vlogger George Benson about how latest laptop and camera tech helped them turn their passions into YouTube channels with thousands of followers.

Want to get started? See our guide to buying a camera for blogging and vlogging