Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

“Siri, what’s a boomer?”: The year in Google searches

Illustration for article titled “Siri, what’s a boomer?”: The year in Google searches
Photo: Mlenny (Getty Images)

Google has released its annual report on the top searches of the year in many, many categories, and as always, it’s full of gems. If our collective internet sleuthing is any indication, Disney+ won the streaming wars for the year, coming in as the top search of 2019. It’s either that, or the confusion around the rollout was no small thing. Below, some additional highlights.


Overall searches: Disney+

As stated above, we were collectively very curious about the streaming service and/or all very much wanted to catch Home Alone 2: Lost In New York this year. Other searches in the top 10 included Cameron Boyce, Nipsey Hussle, and Luke Perry, all of whom died unexpectedly this year, as well as Hurrican Dorian, Antonio Brown, Game Of Thrones, the new iPhone, and Jussie Smollett.

People and actors

Brown and Smollett also topped the list of the most-searched people, with YouTuber James Charles (had to Google that info), Kevin Hart, and R. Kelly rounding out the top five. If Smollett were being googled because of the great career year he had, this would probably be great news for him, huh? He was also the most searched-for actor, with Hart hot on his heels; the rest of that top-five is rounded out by college admissions scandal headliners Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, as well as the endlessly delightful Keanu Reeves.

Here’s the suggested search list that comes up when you pop Jussie Smollett’s name in the ol’ Google machine:

Illustration for article titled “Siri, what’s a boomer?”: The year in Google searches

And that, dear reader, is how this writer found out that Jussie Smollett was in The Mighty Ducks.

There’s also a subcategory for people of the red carpet. Yes, it was dominated by Billy Porter.



Surprising absolutely no one, here is the most searched-for baby of 2019.

Illustration for article titled “Siri, what’s a boomer?”: The year in Google searches
Screenshot: Disney+

Hot on Baby Yoda’s heels is Baby Shark, naturally, followed by the catch-all “Royal baby” and the more specific “Kim Kardashian Kanye West baby” and “Cardi B baby.”

Movies, TV shows, and songs

Please nobody bring up Martin Scorsese, but the two most googled films of the year both come from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Avengers : Endgame and Captain Marvel came in at one and two respectively, with Joker, Toy Story 4, and the “live-action” The Lion King fill out that top five. As for television, no shock here, Game Of Thrones and Stranger Things were much on our minds, as were Whey They See Us, Chernobyl, and The Mandalorian.


Musically, we took ourselves down to the “Old Town Road” about as much as you’d expect. It’s a pretty predictable list, but note that “Shallow” came in at #3, probably because everyone who watched the Oscars last year immediately searched for that Cooper/Gaga performance to watch it again.

Okay but here are the really fun categories

Google ends the report with the actual questions we ask. In the “what is” category, we wanted to know the following:

  1. What is Area 51 really?
  2. What is a VSCO girl
  3. What is momothis is momo 
  4. What is a boomer
  5. What is quid pro quo

We’re particularly ticked by the #8 entry on that list, “What is Bird Box about” because really, what is Bird Box about? As for “where is”:

  1. Where is Sri Lanka
  2. Where is the Super Bowl this year
  3. Where is Area 51 really?
  4. Where is 21 Savage from
  5. And hoo boy, this one: Where is the hurricane now

In 2020, let’s all learn this lesson: Do not Google where the hurricane is. Just get to safety, folks.


Anyway, Jussie Smollett was in The Mighty Ducks and we’re all very curious about the definition of quid pro quo. Happy holidays.

Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves TV, bourbon, and overanalyzing social interactions. Please buy her book, How TV Can Make You Smarter (Chronicle, 2020). It’s short!