These are the top Google searches of the past decade: From Disney Plus to Whitney Houston and the World Cup (GOOG, GOOGL)


Whitney Houston

  • Google has shared the top 10 trending searches from each year of the past decade.
  • Google puts out an annual list of the search terms that saw spikes in traffic for a sustained period during the year.
  • It also recently announced the top searches of 2019, and “Disney Plus” topped the list. 
  • Since 2010, Google’s top searches lists have included celebrity deaths, major news events, and key moments in pop culture.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

As 2019 — and another decade — comes to a close, Google has shared the top trending searches of the past 10 years.

These are the people, places, things, and news events that saw the biggest spikes in traffic for a continuous period of time compared to the previous year, providing a glimpse into the topics that dominated the public interest over the past decade.

The 2010s brought the tragic deaths of celebrities like Whitney Houston, Robin Williams, and Paul Walker, major news events included Hurricane Irma and the trial of Casey Anthony, and two FIFA World Cups. Nearly every year, a hurricane dominated the search terms.

Here’s a look back at the top 10 trending Google searches from each year of the past decade.

SEE ALSO: A look at the most valuable tech companies from 10 years ago shows how much has changed — and that Microsoft and Apple still dominate

2010: World Cup

In 2010, Spain won its first FIFA World Cup title by defeating the Netherlands in extra time, becoming the eighth nation to win the tournament. Hundreds of millions of fans watched the 64 matches, which were played across nine cities in South Africa and marked the first time an African country hosted the tournament.

Also that year: A massive trove of classified communications between US diplomats was given to Julian Assange’s organization Wikileaks by Chelsea Manning, then a soldier in the US Army. A devastating earthquake left hundreds of thousands dead in Haiti. Chatroulette, a website that randomly connects users in webcam chats, launched and quickly became popular. Former child actor Corey Haim died of pneumonia after struggling with prescription drug abuse.

Top 10 trending searches in 2010:

  1. World Cup
  2. Wikileaks
  3. Haiti
  4. iPad
  5. Inception
  6. Justin Bieber
  7. Chatroulette
  8. Avatar
  9. Bing
  10. Corey Haim

2011: Casey Anthony

Following the tragic death of 2-year-old Caylee Anthony in 2008, her mother, Casey, stood trial in what became one of the most widely televised cases of the decade. The nation tuned in for drama-fueled testimony and people literally fought to get into the courtroom to watch live. A jury ultimately found Anthony not guilty of first degree murder in 2011.

Also that year: Image-sharing website Pinterest took off. Google entertained users by letting them search “do a barrel roll” to make the website do a 360-degree spin and “let it snow” to blanket the page in snowflakes. Hurricane Irene hit the Caribbean and parts of the eastern United States, leaving dozens dead and causing billions of dollars in damage.

Top 10 trending searches in 2011:

  1. Casey Anthony
  2. Do a barrel roll
  3. Let it snow
  4. Steve Jobs
  5. Pinterest
  6. Ryan Dunn
  7. iPhone 5
  8. Amy Winehouse
  9. Hurricane Irene
  10. Osama Bin Laden

2012: Whitney Houston

Legendary singer Whitney Houston, the “Queen of Pop,” died in 2012 at the age of 48. Houston won six Grammy awards and was nominated for 25 for her vocal performances, and remains one of the best-selling artists of all time. 

Also that year: Mexican-American Banda singer Jenni Rivera died in a plane crash. 27 people, most of them children, were killed in a mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

Top 10 trending searches in 2012:

  1. Whitney Houston
  2. Pinterest
  3. Hurricane Sandy
  4. Election results
  5. Jenni Rivera
  6. Hunger Games
  7. Jeremy Lin
  8. Adam Lanza
  9. Olympics
  10. Michael Clarke Duncan

2013: Paul Walker

Actor Paul Walker, best known for his role as Brian O’Conner in the popular “Fast and the Furious” movie series, passed away in 2013 in a car crash at age 40. Walker’s death prompted an outpouring of support, especially from fellow cast and crew members, who had grown incredibly close over the years.

Also that year: Glee start Cory Monteith died of a drug overdose. The U.S. government temporarily halted most of its operations after Congress failed to approve its budget. Jodi Arias was found guilty of murdering her ex-boyfriend in a trial that became a cable television spectacle.

Top 10 trending searches in 2013:

  1. Paul Walker
  2. Boston Marathon
  3. Cory Monteith
  4. iPhone 5S
  5. Government shutdown
  6. Aaron Hernandez
  7. iOS 7
  8. Jodi Arias
  9. Harlem shake
  10. Nelson Mandela

2014: Robin Williams

Academy Award-winning actor and comedian Robin Williams committed suicide in August 2014 at age 63 after struggling with “severe depression” as well as dementia. Williams starred in a number of well-known films such as “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Dead Poets Society,” “Good Will Hunting,” and Disney’s “Aladdin.”

Also that year: mobile game Flappy Bird went viral, earning its creator, Dong Nguyen, $50,000 per day before Nguyen abruptly pulled the plug. Protests erupted in Ferguson, Missouri, over law enforcement’s treatment of African-American residents after police officer Darren Wilson, who is white, fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager. Russia controversially invaded and annexed the Crimean peninsula, a region of Ukraine, prompting criticism from the international community.

Top 10 trending searches in 2014:

  1. Robin Williams
  2. World Cup
  3. Ebola
  4. Malaysia Airlines
  5. Flappy Bird
  6. ALS ice bucket challenge
  7. ISIS
  8. Ferguson
  9. Frozen
  10. Ukraine

2015: Lamar Odom

Two-time NBA Championship winner Lamar Odom was hospitalized after being discovered unconscious in a Nevada brothel in 2015, an incident that left him fighting for his life at the time and dominated the news cycle that year. Odom, who was also previously married to the reality TV star Khloe Kardashian, made headlines more recently for his newly announced engagement to personal trainer Sabrina Parr.  

Also that year: Terrorist attacks shocked Paris: attacks in November that killed 130 and injured more than 400, and a shooting in January at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. A mobile game called skyrocketed in popularity after Frank Underwood, the main character from Netflix’s “House of Cards” played by Kevin Spacey, was seen playing it in the show’s fourth season.

Top 10 trending searches in 2015:

  1. Lamar Odom
  2. Jurassic World
  3. American Sniper
  4. Caitlyn Jenner
  5. Ronda Rousey
  6. Paris
  8. Chris Kyle
  9. Fallout 4
  10. Straight Outta Compton

2016: Powerball

The Powerball jackpot hit a record $1.6 billion in 2016 and went to three lucky winners in Tennessee, California, and Florida. The odds that they would land on all of the winning numbers — 4, 8, 19, 27, and 34 as well as Powerball 10 — were 1 in 292.2 million. 

Also that year: A new take on the classic mobile game “Snake” called “” topped App Store charts. Most of the year’s other search trends were dominated by the 2016 US presidential election.

Top 10 trending searches in 2016:

  1. Powerball
  2. Prince
  3. Hurricane Matthew
  4. Pokemon Go
  6. Olympics
  7. David Bowie
  8. Trump
  9. Election
  10. Hillary Clinton

2017: Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma was the most powerful storm outside the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean when it hit Florida and the Caribbean in 2017. It reached maximum sustained wind speeds of 185 miles per hour, and maintained that intensity for a record 37 hours.

Also that year: Fidget spinners became the year’s hottest toy, a rare solar eclipse was visible in parts of the United States, and a gunman opened fire and killed 58 people at a country music festival in Las Vegas.

Top 10 trending searches in 2017:

  1. Hurricane Irma
  2. Matt Lauer
  3. Tom Petty
  4. Super Bowl
  5. Las Vegas shooting
  6. Mayweather vs McGregor fight
  7. Solar eclipse
  8. Hurricane Harvey
  9. Aaron Hernandez
  10. Fidget spinner

2018: World Cup

France emerged as the victor among the 32 countries that competed in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in what has been perceived as being the best tournament yet. France took the coveted title after a landmark match against Croatia, winning by two points. 

Also that year: Iconic fashion designer Kate Spade was found dead in her New York City apartment at age 55, renowned chef and TV host Anthony Bourdain died by suicide, the Marvel film “Black Panther” topped the box office. 

Top 10 trending searches in 2018:

  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

2019: Disney Plus

Disney’s highly-anticipated streaming service debuted in November 2019, offers movies and TV shows from Walt Disney Studios and Walt Disney Television properties for $7 per month. That means you can get classic Disney movies, Pixar films, Marvel content, and more in one app.  

Also this year: Cameron Boyce, the Disney channel star known for his role in the TV show “Jessie,” died at age 20 after suffering an epileptic seizure, and the HBO phenomenon “Game of Thrones” finally came to an end.  

Top 10 trending searches in 2019:

  1. Disney Plus
  2. Cameron Boyce
  3. Nipsey Hussle
  4. Hurricane Dorian
  5. Antonio Brown
  6. Luke Perry
  7. Avengers Endgame
  8. Game of Thrones
  9. iPhone 11
  10. Jussie Smollett