Google's Top Trending Searches of 2020 Revealed: See Which Pop Culture Moments Made the List

From Tiger King to the coronavirus, Google's top trending searches of 2020 paint a picture of what the past year looked like for many Americans.

By McKenna Aiello, Cydney Contreras Dec 09, 2020 8:01 AMTags
Watch: Kim Kardashian Sums Up 2020 in One Perfect Photo

When people say 2020 is a year that will go down in history, it's by no means an exaggeration. 

This year has been memorable one for a multitude of reasons, some of them good and others terribly bad. It started off on a definite low, with Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, perishing along with seven others in a plane crash.

Though it seemed impossible for things to improve at the time, the mood picked up when award season arrived. Thanks to the numerous awards shows, director Bong Joon Ho arrived on the scene with the cast of Parasite, proving that a movie can unite people in a truly unprecedented way.

As spring approached, moments seemed to pass by in a blur, with only one word standing out: coronavirus. At the time, it was a mysterious virus that had people locked up and binge watching everything and anything, including the Netflix documentary Tiger King.

And though all of this seems like it happened a lifetime ago, Google is here to remind us that it was just a few months ago that these subjects made headlines.

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On Wednesday, Dec. 9, the company released an exhaustive list of the top trending searches of the past year, shedding light on the good, the bad and the ugly of 2020. 

E! News rounded up 25 of those moments that defined such a wildly unique year below:

Election Results

The 2020 presidential election dominated headlines throughout the year, but it was on Saturday, Nov. 7 that the race was finally called for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. The California senator made history as the first woman, first Black and first Indian-American individual to be elected vice president. 

Kobe Bryant

An icon was lost on Sunday, Jan. 26 when a helicopter crash killed Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant and seven others en route to a youth basketball tournament. The NBA legend's immeasurable legacy is being upheld by wife Vanessa Bryant and their three daughters, who in December marked Bianka's fourth birthday with a celebration attended by Ciara and La La Anthony


In short, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic upended life as we know it in 2020. The new year brings renewed hope for a return to normalcy thanks to a vaccine that the FDA decided in December has met its safety criteria

Tom Hanks

At the onset of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States in March, Hanks and wife Rita Wilson briefly became the face of the pandemic when they announced they tested positive. The celebrity couple underwent treatment in Australia, where Hanks was filming a movie, and returned home to Los Angeles two weeks later.  


And the Academy Award goes to... Parasite! Director Bong Joon-ho's film made history as first non-English language movie to win Best Picture. It won four of the six Oscars categories it was nominated in, including Best Foreign Language Film, Best Original Screenplay and Best Director. 


Google users were busy searching for the lyrics to Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion's smash hit "WAP," because of course they were. 


The British superstar's physical transformation caught the attention of what seemed like the entire world in May, and five months later she returned to the spotlight with an epic hosting debut on Saturday Night Live. Relive her best moments here

Naya Rivera

On July 8, the Glee star accidentally drowned while boating on a Southern California lake with her young son. Rivera's passing sent shockwaves across Hollywood and beyond as fans credited the actress for her positive impact on the LGBTQ+ community. Her ex-husband, Ryan Dorsey, has since filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Ventura County and other entities on behalf of the child they shared.

Tiger King

The twisted tale of Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin gave us many things: Something to distract us from the lockdown, endless Halloween costumes and a reason to watch Dancing With the Stars

Danny Masterson

In June, the That '70s Show actor was arrested and charged with forcibly raping three women in separate incidents that took place between 2001 and 2003. He has not yet entered a plea, but a judge ruled he will face trial.


Because life imitates art in some pretty terrifying ways, the 2011 film about the threat of a mysterious virus made its way back on the watch lists of many Americans amid the pandemic. 


Yes, Jennifer Lopez rocked the hell out of the 2020 Super Bowl halftime show, but did you see Shakira? Her tongue wag was the real MVP of the game. 

Chadwick Boseman

On Aug. 28, the Black Panther star lost his battle to a cancer only his close family and friends knew he was fighting. Boseman's shocking death led to an outpouring of tributes from fans and celebrities who immortalized the real-life superhero. 

Anderson Cooper's Baby

In late April, the CNN anchor announced the birth of his baby boy, Wyatt Morgan Cooper. "As a gay kid," he shared at the time, "I never thought it would be possible to have a child, and I'm grateful for all those who have paved the way, and for the doctors and nurses and everyone involved in my son's birth."

Lea Michele

As the Black Lives Matter movement sparked a global conversation about racial justice in June, the Glee star became embroiled in a controversy involving her former c-stars. Samantha Ware accused Michele of making her experience on the show a "living hell," citing "traumatic microaggressions." Michele ultimately issued a public apology and promised to be "better in the future from this experience."

Tom Brady

New England Patriots fans shed a collective tear when their knight in shining armor announced he'd be leaving the NFL team for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in March.

The Queen's Gambit

If you haven't binged the Netflix drama (or added a chess set to your Christmas list), this is a sign to do exactly that. The Queen's Gambit became the streaming platform's most popular scripted limited series to date after 62 million households tuned in within a matter of weeks. 

Jada Pinkett Smith

Pop culture's biggest buzzword of 2020? Entanglement. That's what Jada used to described her relationship with singer August Alsina when she and Will Smith revealed they endured a temporary separation years ago. Shortly thereafter, Alsina aptly released a song of the same name. 

Kanye West

The rapper's presidential run was marked by eyebrow-raising interviews, campaign rallies and backlash from his celebrity peers, but he still appears to have his sights set on the White House. "KANYE 2024," West tweeted following his concession

Little Women

Movie buffs couldn't get enough of Greta Gerwig's re-imagination of the literary classic thanks to standout performances from Timothée Chalamet and Florence Pugh

Doja Cat

2020 was a breakout year for the songstress, who dominated the music charts with her hit song "Say So." 

Kelly Preston

In July, the actress and wife of John Travolta lost her two-year battle with breast cancer at the age of 57. "She fought a courageous fight with the love and support of so many," Travolta announced at the time. "My family and I will forever be grateful to her doctors and nurses at MD Anderson Cancer Center, all the medical centers that have helped, as well as her many friends and loved ones who have been by her side."

Ghislaine Maxwell

On July 2, Jeffrey Epstein's former confidante was arrested for her alleged involvement in his sexual abuse case. She managed to evade capture by federal authorities for almost a year, but now sits behind bars while awaiting her July 2021 trial start date. 

Van Halen

Classic rock fans mourned the loss of Eddie Van Halen, who died in October following a battle with throat cancer. He was 65. 


The May birth of Grimes and Elon Musk's baby boy spurred a debate across Twitter after the newborn's name was revealed. X Æ A-12 Musk, according to the singer, means "X, the unknown variable. Æ, my elven spelling of Ai (love &/or Artificial intelligence) A-12 = precursor to SR-17 (our favorite aircraft). No weapons, no defenses, just speed. Great in battle, but non-violent."