Considering how it turned out, it’s no surprise that “annus horribilis” was the term which Greeks googled most of all last year. Although 2015 was a hard year for the country, the opinion is unanimous that it was better than 2016, a year which many had hoped would be an improvement on the previous 12 months, but during which the barrage of bad news from every corner of the globe and the suffering just outside Greece’s neighborhood continued. A portrait of the year emerges from the Google searches carried out by Greeks on the issues and people that preoccupied our thoughts.
Besides the term “annus horribilis,” other searches included “Brexit” and “dab,” a hip-hop dance move which surfed into the mainstream on the internet, the meaning of “RIP” (apparently because of the unexpected deaths of numerous high-profile figures during the year), “mad” and “inferno” (put down to the homonymous movies), as well as “hump day” and “eclipse.” Greeks also googled the popular Turkish TV series “Kara Sevda” (Blind Love) and “hot spot” (a European euphemism for migrant camp).
The fastest-growing searches of 2016 for Greece were “Euro” (as in the soccer competition), “Pokemon Go,” “Pantelis Pantelidis,” a Greek singer who died in a car accident last year, “Rio Olympics,” “Eurovision,” the “Black Friday” sales, which saw the largest participation ever by Greek stores, “David Bowie,” “Kara Sevda,” again, “Twin Moons” (Greek TV series), and “Brexit.” The 10 events of 2016 which Greeks googled most of all were the Euro, Eurovision, Black Friday, the Olympic Games, Copa America, the Oscars, Carnival, the US elections, the UEFA Cup Final and the Champions League.
The celebrities looked up most frequently by Greeks were Pantelidis, Bowie, Cretan singer Yiannis Haroulis, actress Georgia Apostolou, who also died unexpectedly in 2016, Prince, Donald Trump, TV presenter Nana Karagiannis, Alan Rickman, Olympic gold-medalist Anna Korakakis and Melania Trump.
The most googled films were “Deadpool,” “Suicide Squad,” “The Revenant,” “Inferno,” “Batman vs Superman,” “Spotlight,” “Another World,” “The Seamstress,” “Me Before You” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” The most searched for TV programs were “Kara Sevda,” “Twin Moons,” “Peppa Pig,” “The Island,” “X Factor 2016,” “Pablo Escobar,” “Westworld,” “Outlander” and the Greek serials “Ela stin Thesi Mou” and “Tychi Vouno.”
In comparison, the most popular searches in 2015 were the elections, the referendum, Varoufakis, Amphipolis, Grexit and capital controls, among others. Mainly because of political developments and the immediate threat of leaving the European Union, in 2015 the word “Greece” was high on global Google searches. With that threat removed (Britain took that position), Greece lost a bit of the world’s attention, but retained quite a strong presence thanks to searches for “holiday in Greece.”
That search term was at lower levels this year than in 2015, with the British, Irish and Americans showing the highest interest. These searches peaked over the summer. Notably, in 2004, the term “Christmas in Greece” was at record levels, apparently due to the knock-on effect of the promotion and coverage of the Athens Olympic Games. The authorities failed to capitalize on that momentum and since then the search term has steadily declined. Once again, it was the British and the Americans behind most of the hits for “Christmas in Greece.”