Google Year in Search 2021: The Top Queries of the Past Year Revealed

Google has revealed which terms were searched for the most in 2021, with Kyle Rittenhouse, Squid Game, Alec Baldwin and various sporting events all ranking as top queries across the globe.

The technology company has dropped a video that ostensibly recaps the entire "Year in Search", but the terms showcased here are not the ones that were actually typed into Google the most. The clip is meant to be life-affirming and uplifting, so it depicts people searching for things like "how to be yourself" and "how to be resilient".

Yet a quick glance through the real data (that Google has made publicly available via its Trends app) reveals that internet users are far more likely to look up things like "How to pronounce Dogecoin" or "How to be a good kisser".

According to the search engine provider, these lists are based on the terms that had the highest spike in search in 2021 when compared to previous years.

Newsweek has taken a look through both the global and U.S. trends, to see what people have been googling the most over the past 12 months. Meanwhile, if you want to see what the most popular topics on Reddit were, click here.

The Biggest Google Trends Worldwide

Gary Harris and Tristan Thompson
Photo shows Gary Harris of the Orlando Magic team going to the basket against Tristan Thompson of the Sacramento Kings. Alongside other sports topics, the NBA was one of the most searched terms on Google in 2021. Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

On a worldwide scale, the Google trends were largely made of sporting events, with a pair of cricket matches nabbing the top two spots and the Indiana Premier League (IPL) team coming in third place.

After all the cricket search, the National Basketball Association (NBA) was the fourth biggest trend, followed by the Euro 2021 soccer cup and then the Copa America tournament.

The list continues to be dominated by sports until you get to the ninth spot, which belongs to Squid Game. The Korean show became a global phenomenon when it launched in September and is still leading the Netflix charts now, so it's not surprising to see this immense popularity reflected in search engine data.

Elsewhere in pop culture, Marvel's Eternals was the top trending movie of 2021 (followed by its studio stablemate Black Widow) and the most searched game might take you by surprise.

Instead of a AAA blockbuster, it ended up being the PopCat clicking game, which presumably got a lot of search because people were actually looking to play it via Google (rather than looking for news stories about it). After all, if you want to launch something like Call of Duty: Vanguard, you don't need to go through a search engine to do it.

As for individual people, it was naturally those who were embroiled in controversies, were found guilty of committing crimes, or who were at the centre of tragedies, that appeared highest in the various lists. Alec Baldwin was the top trending person, after the fatal shooting that occurred on the set of his movie Rust, while Kyle Rittenhouse and Derek Chauvin were also the subjects of a lot of search queries.

Here are some of the lists from Google's Year in Search recap:

Top Global Searches of 2021

  1. Australia vs India
  2. India vs England
  3. IPL
  4. NBA
  5. Euro 2021
  6. Copa America
  7. India vs New Zealand
  8. T20 World Cup
  9. Squid Game
  10. DMX

Global Trending Movies of 2021

  1. Eternals
  2. Black Widow
  3. Dune
  4. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
  5. Red Notice
  6. Mortal Kombat
  7. Curella
  8. Halloween Kills
  9. Godzilla vs. Kong
  10. Army of the Dead

Global Trending People of 2021

  1. Alec Baldwin
  2. Kyle Rittenhouse
  3. Christian Eriksen
  4. Tiger Woods
  5. Simone Biles
  6. Joe Biden
  7. Emma Randucanu
  8. Derek Chauvin
  9. Henry Ruggs III
  10. Pete Davidson

Global Trending Games of 2021

  1. PopCat
  2. Fifa 22
  3. Battlefield 2042
  4. Monster Hunter Rise
  5. Resident Evil Village
  6. Genshin Impact
  7. Call of Duty: Vanguard
  8. Far Cry 6
  9. Madden NFL 22
  10. Metroid Dread

Global Trending TV Shows of 2021

  1. Squid Game
  2. Bridgerton
  3. WandaVision
  4. Cobra Kai
  5. Loki
  6. Sweet Tooth
  7. Lupin
  8. Ginny and Georgia
  9. True Beauty
  10. BBB21

The Biggest Trends in the United States

Kyle Rittenhouse With Attorneys
Kyle Rittenhouse was in the top 5 trending Google searches for 2021. Sean Krajacic/Getty Images

If you filter the Google Year in Search results to show the top trends from the U.S., you get a very different picture.

Naturally, a lot of terms that are more specific to the country appear in these lists, like stimulus checks, Mega Millions and the Georgia senate race. In fact, the NBA ends up being the top Google trend of the year if you just go by what's popular in the states.

On the subject of sports, FIFA 22 does not appear anywhere in the U.S. list for trending games and is instead replaced with an American football simulator, Madden NFL 22.

Again, the likes of Alec Baldwin and Kyle Rittenhouse place highly in the trending people sections, but you also have Travis Scott appearing as well (who was absent from the global list).

In terms of broader queries, a lot of people in the U.S. were searching for relationship advice this year, with questions like "how to be more attractive", "how to be romantic", "how to be a good boyfriend" and even "how to be happy alone" getting a lot of traction.

Top U.S. Google Searches of 2021

  1. NBA
  2. DMX
  3. Gabby Petito
  4. Kyle Rittenhouse
  5. Brian Laundrie
  6. Mega Millions
  7. AMC Stock
  8. Stimulus Check
  9. Georgia Senate Race
  10. Squid Game

Most Searched People in the U.S.

  1. Kyle Rittenhouse
  2. Tiger Woods
  3. Alec Baldwin
  4. Travis Scott
  5. Simone Biles
  6. Derek Chauvin
  7. Morgan Wallen
  8. Henry Ruggs III
  9. Pete Davidson
  10. Shailene Woodley

Most Searched Games in the U.S.

  1. Among Us
  2. Battlefield 2042
  3. Resident Evil Village
  4. Valheim
  5. Forza Horizon 5
  6. Madden NFL 22
  7. Outriders
  8. Pokemon Unite
  9. Biomutant
  10. Friday Night Funkin'

Most Searched Movies in the U.S.

  1. Black Widow
  2. Eternals
  3. Halloween Kills
  4. Mortal Kombat
  5. Dune
  6. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
  7. Godzilla vs. Kong
  8. The Suicide Squad
  9. Space Jam
  10. In the Heights

Most Searched Musicans in the U.S.

  1. Travis Scott
  2. Morgan Wallen
  3. Adele
  4. The Weekend
  5. Dr. Dre
  6. Olivia Rodrigo
  7. Marilyn Manson
  8. Daft Punk
  9. Bobby Shmurda
  10. Lil Nas X

Most Searched "How To" Queries in the U.S.

  1. How to be eligible for stimulus check
  2. How to be more attractive
  3. How to be happy alone
  4. How to be a baddie
  5. How to be a good boyfriend
  6. How to be a good kisser
  7. How to be a flight attendent
  8. How to be happy with yourself
  9. How to be mindful
  10. How to be romantic
Among Us Keyart
"Among Us" was the top trending game in the U.S. for 2021. InnerSloth LLC