What did people search for on Google in 2016? In a year marked by the U.S. presidential elections and the Rio 2016 Olympics it may come as quite a surprise to learn that the top two American search queries were “Powerball” and “Prince.” On a global scale, “Pokémon Go” “iPhone 7” and “Donald Trump” were the most searched for queries, with “Prince” and “Powerball” not far behind.
According to the Google Trends Year in Search 2016 report, searches for information about singer-songwriter Prince peaked in April, the month that he died. Google searches for Powerball reached record heights in January when the Powerball lottery set a new world record with its $1.58 billion jackpot.
Powerball may be the leading American lottery but it’s possible to play it from all over the world. Players can purchase tickets in person at an authorized retailer in the United States, or purchase tickets online with a reputable ticket purchasing service. Canadians, for example, can buy their official lottery tickets online at Powerball Canada.
Even though Canadians did not search for information on Powerball on Google as much as their neighbors to the south, there is no doubt that Powerball fever surged in the country during January. In order to play the Powerball draw on January 13, 2016, described as “the biggest jackpot in the history of the world,” thousands of Canadians rushed across the border to buy their tickets.
“The Canadians — they’re coming like crazy here for the lotto,” an official of the California State Lottery told CBS News. “You don’t have to be a U.S. citizen to buy a Powerball ticket, as long as you’re buying your tickets at an authorized retail location, then that’s fine with us.”
Another sign that the Powerball and its huge jackpot were extremely popular in Canada was the fact that it was featured as one of the top 10 Toronto Sun cover stories of the year. The newspaper’s cover on January 12, 2016, pictured a Toronto bakery that was giving away tickets for the Powerball lottery draw. The headline was a very appropriate “A Lot of Dough”.
For those who are not familiar with the lottery, players must match five main numbers selected from a guess range of 1-69 and an additional Powerball number from a guess range of 1-26 in order to win the jackpot. As the odds of winning a Powerball jackpot are one in more than 292 million, the top prize frequently rolls over from draw to draw. This was the case until the lottery finally awarded its record-breaking jackpot in January 2016 to three lucky ticket holders from California, Florida, and Tennessee.
The Powerball lottery awarded three other huge jackpots in 2016: $429.6 million in May to a player from New Jersey; $487 million in July to a single ticket holder from New Hampshire; and $420.9 million in November to a lucky player from Tennessee.
There are high expectations that the Powerball jackpot will again pass the $1 billion one day soon, and when that happens, interest in the American lottery will again reach a peak not only in Canada, but all over the world.