If this year has felt like an interminable lifetime, you're not alone: So much has happened in the past 350 days or so that a few memories were bound to fall through the sieve of your mind. Blame the endless scroll of our constantly-refreshing news cycle, point to the onslaught of tragedy that pummeled us from every direction — whatever you'd like to call it, one thing is true: 2019 was far from boring.
But what was the biggest moment of the whole year? Well, that's difficult to quantify, but Google is trying to help. This week, the search platform unveiled its annual Year in Search: a list of the people, places, things, and plot twists that left the internet searching for more information and even more context. It's also a pretty good time capsule — the burning of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, the devastation wrought by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas, and the constant updates surrounding Jussie Smollett's arrest were just three of the major headlines this year.
Though it only premiered a month ago, Disney+ nabbed the top spot for searches overall — no surprise there, given that the service all but crashed when it debuted on November 12. The Women's World Cup was the third most searched news event of the year, and while the U.S. Women's National Team is still raking in the accolades and reigning supreme, their big wins are still asterisked by the fact that they aren't paid on the level of the men's national team, despite generally being better at their jobs. The actors Lori Laughlin and Felicity Huffman were among the most-searched celebrities, but not likely because of any new Hollywood projects — this was the year they were both implicated in a multi-million dollar college admissions scandal that exposed some of the ways in which higher education is rigged in favor of the wealthy.
While you likely didn't need Google to tell you that Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X basically won the year, the searches confirmed it. The young musicians are among the most-searched artists this year, in a list that also includes 21 Savage, who was detained by ICE after he criticized the agency in a televised performance, as well as A$AP Rocky, whose arrest in Sweden even made an appearance in testimony related to the impeachment of President Donald Trump. The most-searched musician this year, however, was R. Kelly, who may finally be held accountable to the allegations of abuse that scores of Black women and girls have levied against him for years.
As for this year's big questions, plenty of people Googled what the heck "quid pro quo" is, as well as what the term "boomer" means. And while the series finale of Game of Thrones likely left you with plenty of questions, the show was still the most-searched TV program all year. Special mentions go to Stranger Things, The Mandalorian, and When They See Us, which sparked plenty of renewed conversation around police brutality and lay the president's decades-long history of racism in stark relief.
Of course, we have half a month left to the year, so it's entirely possible that a dark-horse phenomenon breaks this list in the final hours of the decade. What will 2020 have in store? Well, that's up to you to decide — after all, news is made by the people who live it.Life