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Krispy Kreme, Powerball and Prince: Austin’s top Google searches of 2016

Eric Webb
ewebb@statesman.com
Prince performs at La Zona Rosa at SXSW on Saturday, March 16, 2013.

Surely you didn't think that what you typed in your search bar died as soon as you closed out your browser window? Much like Santa Claus, Google knows when you've been sleeping, when you've been awake and when you've been searching for a Krispy Kreme near you.

According to a news release, that doughnut hunt was just one of the most popular "near me" Google searches in Austin in 2016, right after "brunch nearby" and "vegan food nearby." Those two make a little more sense for our city, don't you think? No shade to the chain doughnut shop that brought us the glaze waterfall.

Austin's other search trends didn't look too different from the rest of the United States, proving that for all our vegan-cuisine-based differences, we're all the same at heart. The top trending searches in the city this year were, from in descending order, "Prince," "election," "Donald Trump," "Powerball" and "COPA America," proving that we really could have used that long-rumored Major League Soccer franchise. For those of you interested in news searches — and let's assume you didn't stumble here completely by cosmic chance — the top headline searches were "election," "COPA America," "Olympics," "World Series" and "Haruka Weiser." Weiser, a University of Texas at Austin student, was found dead on the banks of Waller Creek near the school's alumni center in April. Her death was the first homicide on the UT campus in nearly 50 years.

Considering that everyone was so interested in the election, the top people searched on Google by Austinites in 2016 are no surprise: Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Melania Trump, Michael Phelps and Bernie Sanders. Maybe Phelps was looking for a new crowd to hang with after his swimming pals got into hot water this year. 

And because Austin loves a good flick, how about the most searched movies this year? We were apparently looking for showtimes of "Suicide Squad," "Captain America: Civil War," "Deadpool," "Finding Dory" and "Sausage Party." Really thought you'd be soaking up more indie cinema, folks. "Moonlight" was life-changing and boasted a complete lack of sexualized groceries.

While we're on the subject of Google, let's take a peek at the internet belwether's national search data for the year. Some of my favorite takeaways:

• While some of the top searches for actors and actresses make sense ("Star Wars: The Force Awakens" stars Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver, perfect human being Brie Larson), some are notable because they probably didn't land on the list for their thespian talents. "Allied" stars Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard got high placements, but I'd bet actual American currency that their search success owed more to rumors of a marriage-dissolving affair than their war drama. See also: most-searched-for actress Meghan Markle, aka Prince Harry's main squeeze. Also see also: Stephanie Tanner herself, "Fuller House" star Jodie Sweetin, which warms the cockles of my heart while also crying out for search engine justice for Meryl Streep.

• In fifth place for most searches about calories: eggplant. Presumably not the emoji version.

• The "taco diet," or "taco cleanse," was the second place search for diets. Yours truly wrote about the tortilla-wrapped health plan back in January.

• Some good canine queries: "How long are dogs pregnant?" Between 58 and 68 days, according to Google. "Was Goofy a dog?" Yes, according to me.

• Since we traffic in such frivolities in this space, the top meme searches: "Harambe," "Damn Daniel," "Pokemon Go," "Dat Boi" and "SpongeBob caveman." If you're reading this and don't know what these things mean, don't worry. We'll have new memes next year.

• Among Google's breakout searches of 2016, or the terms that set "new all-time highs in search interest": raccoons, duct tape, guacamole, nachos, impeachment, Chance the Rapper, Chewbacca, "RuPaul's Drag Race," 7-Eleven, hi-top fades, cupping therapy, proper nouns, trap music, ripped jeans and internet memes.