Google's 'Year in Search': Hello, It's Adele

Henning Kaiser/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
Adele performs on stage during RTL's end-of-year review '2015! Menschen, Bilder, Emotionen' in Huerth, Germany on Dec. 6, 2015. 

Here's another argument for not rushing those year-end lists. Google has revealed its annual Year in Search review, and Adele dominates the music categories, much the way the British singer has smashed decades-old industry sales records in the mere three-and-a-half weeks since releasing her new album, 25.

Adele ranks No. 9 among 2015's top trending people overall, between Rachel Dolezal and Josh Duggar. She's No. 1 on the trending music artists list. And first 25 single "Hello," which recently matched Adele's longest Hot 100 reign with its seventh week in the top spot, also leads among trending song lyrics. Though Adele's 25 wasn't available until Nov. 20 — and then only for sale, not on-demand streaming — it has ruled the Billboard 200 ever since, becoming the first album to sell more than 650,000 units in each of its first three weeks since Nielsen Music started tracking sales in 1991.

Adele's Year in Search crown was no doubt helped by the fact that the Google tally focuses on search terms that are "trending," not necessarily the top searches overall. "With trending stories it's really what's accelerating the fastest," says Simon Rogers, Google's data editor. "With Adele you could see a massive acceleration at the end of the year."

So far this year, Google has received more than 439 million searches for Adele. Her prevalence among top searches began picking up two months ago, ahead of the Oct. 23 release of "Hello." One of the top questions asked about Adele in Google searches is "Why does Adele name her albums numbers?" The "Hello" video, for its part, totals more than 715 million views as of press time, placing it among YouTube's most watched videos of 2015.

The Year in Music 2015: See All the Best-Of Lists, Charts, Photos + More

Google also breaks down Adele searches by location. Worldwide, the top city searching for Adele this year was Amsterdam, followed in order by Toronto, New York, Washington, D.C., London, Atlanta and Los Angeles. Within the United States, the city taking top Adele honors was Charlottesville, Va., which Rogers says had proportionally the highest number of Adele-related searches of anywhere in the country.

To be sure, the music-related categories of Google's Year in Search weren't only owned by Adele. Behind her among music artists were Sia, Fetty Wap, Eazy-E, Sam Smith, N.W.A., Chris Stapleton, Beck, Lenny Kravitz and Meghan Trainor. Rounding out the song lyrics tally were Hozier's "Take Me to Church," Taylor Swift's "Blank Space," Mark Ronson's Bruno Mars-sung "Uptown Funk," Ed Sheeran's "Thinking Out Loud," Drake's "Hotline Bling," Wiz Khalifa's Charlie Puth-featuring "See You Again," Fetty Wap's "Trap Queen," the Weeknd's "The Hills" and Omi's "Cheerleader."

Google's year-end results vary a bit from lists released by other tech giants. Twitter's Year in Review found that most of the Top Retweets of the Year belonged to One Direction. Facebook's Year in Review list of the most talked about entertainers highlighted Sheeran, Swift, Kanye West, Nicky Jam, Wiz Khalifa, Drake, Pitbull, Caitlyn Jenner, the Weeknd and Shakira.

Rogers, the Google data editor, says people search for different terms than they might share with their friends. "We're honest with our search engines in a way we wouldn't necessarily be on social media," he explains.

Last year, Google's top music artist was Iggy Azalea, trailed by Lorde, Smith, Trainor, Solange Knowles, Nicki Minaj, Weird Al, Sia, Daft Punk and Taylor Swift (though Google used a mix of trending and top searches last year, it dug deeper into trending searches in 2015). "Say Something," by A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera, boasted the most-searched lyrics. Before that, faring well in 2013's rankings were "Harlem Shake," Miley Cyrus and Beyonce.

Click here to dig into the full 2015 Year in Search, watch the video below, or scroll down to see the music-related results.

Top Trending People (Not Including Deaths)
1. Lamar Odom
2. Caitlyn Jenner
3. Ronda Rousey
4. Donald Trump
5. Ruby Rose
6. Charlie Sheen
7. Brian Williams
8. Rachel Dolezal
9. Adele
10. Josh Duggar

Top Trending Music Artists
1. Adele
2. Sia
3. Fetty Wap
4. Eazy-E
5. Sam Smith
6. N.W.A.
7. Chris Stapleton
8. Beck
9. Lenny Kravitz
10. Meghan Trainor

Top Trending Song Lyrics
1. Hello
2. Take Me to Church
3. Blank Space
4. Uptown Funk
5. Thinking Out Loud
6. Hotline Bling
7. See You Again
8. Trap Queen
9. The Hills
10. Cheerleader

Billboard Year in Music 2015