Dec 14th, 2016

Google today revealed their Top Google Searches of 2016 along with a highlight reel and deep dive into various search segments. Among them was consumer tech, where Android and iPhone were featured in 9 out of the top 10 searches.

Top 10 tech searches of 2016:

  • iPhone 7
  • Freedom 251
  • iPhone SE
  • iPhone 6S
  • Google Pixel
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • Note 7
  • Nintendo Switch
  • Samsung J7

There are a few key takeaways here worth noting.

iPhone is #1

Apple’s iPhone 7 took the top spot this year and we can’t say we’re surprised. Its brand recognition bests all other consumer tech devices not only in the market today, but in the history of the world. It doesn’t hurt that all of their brand recognition is funneled into a single entity- iPhone. We’ve seen that dissipate slightly as Apple releases different versions of their devices, but it’s a drop in the bucket compared to Android.

Android beats iPhone 5 to 4

This was expected, for the same reason that we anticipated the iPhone would take the top spot. Android has so many different makes and models that its popularity is split amongst a large number of keywords, making it difficult for the OS to rank #1. However, that gives it a quantity advantage. We’re actually surprised Android’s margin of victory was so narrow in number of top placements.

Unfortunately, two of Android’s top searches were for devices that completely backfired and exploded in people’s faces… literally.

Samsung still on fire

Android vs iOS is an operating system battle but when it comes to the physical hardware that powers them, the players who matter most have been Apple and Samsung. That proves true in 2016 as well, with Samsung taking home 3 of the 10 top tech searches.

Samsung’s Galaxy S7 topped the companies efforts, which is surprising considering the amount of negative press and exposure received by the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. I may have even expected the Note 7 to come in at #1 given the pure negative media attention. Of course we’re talking about the device exploding, catching fire, and ultimately being recalled and discontinued on a global basis.

Surprisingly, Samsung’s disasterful Note was outsearched by an evil unicorn that many people forgot existed.

Freedom doesn’t ring

A company called Ringing Bells announced a phone called the Freedom 251 that they promised to sell for 251 Indian Rupees. Converted to US Dollars that comes out to about $3.75. You read that right: less than 5 bucks for a fully functioning Android Phone.

Many thought it too good to be true and blasted it as a ponzi scheme. Whether or not that accusation is true remains unseen, but to this day, the company has only shipped 5,000 units (compared to the hundreds of thousands ordered).

The Google Phone cometh?

Aside from the Freedom debacle, Android’s top search was for the Google Pixel. Prior to Android’s announcement, many predicted the company would announce the “gPhone” or “Google Phone”. That never happened. Then it did, but still didn’t, when Google launched their Nexus line of devices and partnerships. Then they discontinued Nexus.

This year the company didn’t announce a gPhone but they did announce two self-branded devices: the Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL. As consumer device boundaries blur, this protects Google from pigeon-holing themselves with a “phone” name and instead dubbing their devices with screens as “Pixel”, be it Android Phones, Android Tablets, Android Laptops, Android TVs, Android Auto navigation units, or anything else.

Google ran a humongous advertising campaign to promote the launch, but to see it besting Samsung’s tried and true line of Galaxy devices is both impressive and eyebrow raising. Google being in charge of these rankings lends itself to some easy data manipulation – these results were surely compiled with a complex and human engineered algorithm – but we doubt Google would put the Freedom 251 atop the list were they trying to impress anyone.

Nintendo Switches it up

The only keyword not Android or iPhone related to break into the top 10? Nintendo Switch. That’s the company’s upcoming hybrid console that has gaming enthusiasts begging for the March 2017 release to hurry up and (insert Scorpion voice) get over here.

That wasn’t the company’s only success… far from it: Nintendo also led all searches on the entire freaking internet for their Pokemon Go mobile game release.

2016 Google Search Highlights

What do YOU search for?

What types of tech-related searches do you find yourself performing most?

  • Product review searches?
  • Product comparisons?
  • How to searches?
  • Support/help?

Personally, my biggest trend in 2016 has been the use of voice search… I use it for almost everything and it’s transformed the types of searches I perform on a daily basis.