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From Olivia Rodrigo to the NBA, here’s what people Googled most in 2021

In 2021, the top searches included music to cry to, scary video games and many, many memes.
Image: Olivia Rodrigo
Olivia Rodrigo performs "Traitor" at the American Music Awards on Nov. 21 at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.Chris Pizzello / AP file

From learning the lyrics to belt out Olivia Rodrigo’s “Drivers License” to figuring out how to download the game Among Us, Google searches in 2021 revealed what users in the United States were watching, listening to and playing.

Google's top 2021 search trends, which the search engine shared this week, showed what people looked up the most throughout the year.

Celebrities dominated several categories, but when it came to celebrities searched together, people wanted to know about Kim Kardashian and Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye West, and, later, Kardashian and comedian Pete Davidson, whom she is rumored to be dating.

News also dominated many searches, with people looking up how to help the people of Afghanistan as the United States withdrew its military presence from the country.

Others looked up how to pronounce the cryptocurrency Dogecoin.

Here are more of the top U.S. Google searches of 2021.

General searches

The top search of the year was the NBA.

Searches for "NBA" spiked toward the end of May and the beginning of June, according to Google data. The contentious playoffs, where several teams pulled off upset victories, could be behind the increase in searches.

Rapper DMX, who died in April, was the second-most-searched entity, Google reported. The rapper died days after going on life support following a heart attack.

DMX performs in concert at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill on March 27, 2016 in New York.
DMX performs in concert at B.B. King Blues Club and Grill on March 27, 2016, in New York.Noam Galai / Getty Images file

Another death that dominated searches was that of Gabby Petito, the woman who went missing while on a road trip with her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, and was found dead in Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming. Laundrie, who was named a person of interest in Petito's disappearance and who died by suicide, was another major search.

People also searched for Kyle Rittenhouse, the teen acquitted on all charges related to the fatal shootings of two people last year at a racial injustice protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin.


Rittenhouse also dominated Google's "People" search category.

Others on the list included golfer Tiger Woods, who was in a major car crash in February. Woods announced Wednesday that he will compete in the upcoming PNC Championship with his son.

Alec Baldwin — who recently gave his first interview since the accidental shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, 42, in October while on the set of the film "Rust" — also made the list for most-searched people, according to Google.

Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin talks with George Stephanopoulos. Jeff Neira / ABC via Getty Images

Travis Scott, creator of the festival Astroworld, at which several people died and dozens more were injured in November, was the fourth-most-searched person.

Olympian Simone Biles, who made headlines during the Tokyo Olympics after withdrawing from some events, citing mental health issues, came in fifth place.


Memes reveal the creativity of the internet and the moments that permeated digital culture, and 2021 had a plethora of notable moments.

The year kicked off with an image of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at President Joe Biden's inauguration, huddled in a gray coat and wool mittens, which went ultra-viral.

The mittens were made by Jen Ellis, a Vermont elementary school teacher who has a side business making mittens out of recycled wool. Merchandise sold with Sanders' image helped raise $1.8 million for charitable organizations in Vermont.

In addition to the mittens meme, traditional memes like an image of a scared hamster and the drawn out phrase "sheeeeeeesh" also were among the most-searched terms on Google.

A video featuring a man hitting another man, who had used a racist slur, with a Twisted Tea put the alcoholic beverage on the list of most-searched terms.

Rounding out the list was the hit Netflix Korean drama "Squid Game," which was fodder for a host of memes.

Video games

Searches for video games were also prominent on Google's list of searches and included both new releases and games that people could enjoy together from a distance during the pandemic.

A still from the game "Among Us."
A still from the game Among Us.Courtesy Innersloth

Among Us, a free online game that allows users to play with a group of friends or strangers around the world, topped Google's list of game searches in 2021.

Resident Evil Village, the latest installment in the horror series Resident Evil, which debuted in 1996, was released in May to glowing reviews. One of the game's main baddies, Lady Dimitrescu, became a viral sensation after a demo of the game, called Maiden, was released in January.

The buzz around Lady Dimitrescu, a vampire woman who is more than 9 feet tall, and the subsequent memes about her might have contributed to the game's increased searches.


All of 2021 felt like sad girl season, which might explain why Olivia Rodrigo and Taylor Swift dominated the most-searched songs of the year, according to Google.

Rodrigo's "Drivers License" debuted in January and quickly started breaking records, including becoming the non-holiday song with the most single-day streams, with more than 15 million streams on the fourth day of its release.

While "Drivers License" satiated those who needed to cry out a breakup — or at least pretend they were going through one — "Good 4 U" was Rodrigo's song for those who wanted a high-energy breakup anthem.

The song was the third single released from Rodrigo's debut album "Sour" and topped charts in a number of countries, including the United States. "Good 4 U" was the third-most-searched song in 2021, according to Google.

It wouldn't be a sad girl season without Swift, and her release of the 10-minute version of "All Too Well" nearly broke the internet. "All Too Well" was the second-most-searched song, behind "Drivers License," according to Google.

Adele's emotional ballad "Easy On Me," which was released in October, completed the trifecta of women who released songs to cry to in 2021. It was the fifth-most-searched song on Google.

Rapper Drake also made the most-searched songs list, coming in fourth with "Wants and Needs."