As is the annual tradition, Google has released its list of top trending searches for the year. If 2018 was dominated by anything, it was untimely and unexpected celebrity deaths. The top 10 trending searches included DJ and musician Avicii, rapper Mac Miller, legendary comics creator Stan Lee, celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, controversial rapper XXXTentacion, theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, and fashion designer Kate Spade -- all of whom passed away during the year.
The way Google calculates its top trends isn't by volume of total searches but rather by the increase in interest from 2017 to 2018 in a specific topic. As a result, most of the top results are big stories and events that came out of nowhere or only happen every few years. The 2018 World Cup in Russia was the top trending search overall, proving the event doesn't count on the US to generate interest. Other one-time occurrences -- Hurricane Florence and Michael, the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle -- were all present in the top 10 for the year's trending events.
One sure-fire way to get on the end of the year trending searches list: be surrounded by controversy. Justice Kavanaugh and Stormy Daniels were among the trendiest people overall, and the top search getters in any given category typically had some sort of strife in their lives this year. Rapper and walking felony charge 6ix9ine was among the most popular musicians of the year and Logan Paul was the top-trending actor (an interesting categorization choice by Google for the YouTuber). Tristan Thompson, an otherwise forgettable NBA player on a massive contract, managed to be the top trending athlete not because of his prowess on the court but for cheating on Khloe Kardashian -- who also happened to be one of the most trendy searches of the year.