Google Trends gives us a unique look at what the world is searching for, and what it seeks to better understand. Search trends illuminate what is going on in the world right now. And yet, they can also help us understand what has endured — what has captivated our attention over time.
This Black History Month, Google is celebrating the African Americans and African American-led movements that were the “most searched” in the United States through Google Trends history.
Standing out as “most searched” means that in the United States, a person, movement, or moment was searched more than any other in a specific category since Google Trends data first became available in 2004. In other words, being the “most searched ballerina” means Misty Copeland was most searched in the United States among all ballerinas. We have highlighted individuals and moments from the “most searched” list based on both cultural influence and historical impact, and it's important to note that this list is not exhaustive of every African American individual who fits the criteria of “most searched.”
Using internal Google tools, we calculated the “most searched” person, movement, or moment in each category1 using anonymous and aggregated Google Trends data samples from January 01, 20042 to July 01, 2019 in the United States. In some cases, the date range extended to November 01, 2019.
We validated the search interest in three ways:
- When a definitive list exists for a “most searched” category, we calculated3 the entity4 with the highest total search interest of all entities in the list.
- Example: “Nobel Peace Prize winners” is a definitive list, we select the person from this list with the most U.S. search interest in Google Trends data.
- When a “most searched” category is represented by a Knowledge Graph topic, we calculated3 the entity4 with the most search interest in (entity4 + topic).
- Example: To find the most searched “slam dunk,” we rank search interest of (person’s name + slam dunk topic).
- When a “most searched” category is best expressed as a search term, we calculated3 the entity4 with the highest total search interest in (entity4 + term).
- Example: To find the most searched “guitar solo” we rank search interest of (person’s name + “guitar solo”).
1 Category is a reference to a career title, an action, event, or achievement.
2 Data is dated back to January 1, 2004 because that’s the date Google started tracking Search Trends.
3 Calculations of search interest are quantified using Google’s proprietary internal tools.
4 Entity is referring to the person, moment or movement.