For more than 20 years, search engines have served as the collective consciousness of a generation of internet users. From politics, tech, culture, and entertainment to your most embarrassing how-tos, meme inquiries, and inevitable porn searches, your Google Search history contains multitudes.
You might know what you searched for most often in 2017, but was it the same as everyone else? Each year, Google releases its Year in Search, which summarizes the hottest search topics and queries throughout the year. Even if you’ve had enough of the internet over the course of this bleak dumpster year, looking at the things we Googled in hindsight says a lot about where we are—and it looks like we’re ready to move forward. Here are your top Google searches in 2017 and the popular stories behind them.
The top Google searches in 2017
Top 5 searches
Unsurprisingly, devastating hurricanes peaked the highest international and national interest this year. Hurricane Irma—along with Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico—marked 2017 as the deadliest hurricane season since 1900. Irma left 134 people dead and topped the list as the most-searched topic in 2017.
2. Matt Lauer
Matt Lauer’s story is in line with one of the most prevailing narratives of 2017. A powerful and influential man is accused of assault, the public finally listens to women who have been saying this for years, the reckoning arrives, powerful man is vilified and (just maybe) removed from power. Along with a barrage of other powerful men ousted in 2017 for sexual harassment and assault, the former NBC co-anchor was fired after a sexual harassment allegation was deemed credible. Since his firing, more women have come forward with allegations against Lauer.
3. Tom Petty
After suffering cardiac arrest in his home in Malibu, the legendary “American Girl” singer and rock musician Tom Petty died on Oct. 2, 2017 at the age of 66.
4. Super Bowl
The New England Patriots took this year’s Super Bowl over the Atlanta Falcons 34-28, but the real winner on the web was Lady Gaga, whose halftime performance wowed the crowds at Houston’s NRG stadium.
On Oct. 2, 2017, a gunman opened fire from a room in the Mandalay Bay Casino in Las Vegas and killed 59 people in the crowds at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival. It was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, with more fatalities than the Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016.
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- D.C. protest
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Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance.