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Through the Google lens: Search trends June 12-18

The shooting in Charleston, S.C., was the top topic in search this week. Here’s a look at what people were searching for after the tragedy, plus a glimpse into what else was on searchers’ minds this week.

Tragedy in the south

On Wednesday night, a gunman shot and killed nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, a historic black church in Charleston, S.C. The suspect, Dylann Roof, was arrested Thursday morning, and charged today with nine counts of murder. As people tried to make sense of the story, many turned to the web, leading searches for “Charleston shooting” to climb to more than 5 million. Top questions in the early morning after the shooting include “What was the motive of the hate crime shooting in Charleston?” Many were also interested in the Confederate flag, which still flies above the S.C. Capitol building; interest in the flag spiked 20X in the past week in the U.S. as people asked questions like “What does the Confederate flag stand for?”

Presidential politics

We’re still well more than a year away from the 2016 election but the presidential race is already crowded, and getting more so. This week two new candidates joined the fray: Jeb Bush and Donald Trump both announced they plan to run, bringing the total number of Republican candidates to a cool dozen. Though Bush was the most searched candidate in more than 25 states after his announcement, it didn’t last long. Following Trump’s announcement Tuesday, he became the most searched Republican Presidential candidate in every state in the U.S. Top questions on the newest candidates include “Is Jeb Bush related to George Bush?” (that would be a “yes”) and “What is Donald Trump’s net worth?” (he says more than $8 billion; the numbers are disputed).


Must-see TV

This week was big for sports, with Google’s own hometown team Golden State Warriors beating the Cleveland Cavaliers to win their first NBA Championship title since 1975. The Warriors were at the top of the search charts on Tuesday with more than 2 million searches. Meanwhile, in hockey, the Chicago Blackhawks edged out the Tampa Bay Lightning to win the Stanley Cup for the second time in three seasons. Winning never gets old, though: interest in Blackhawks apparel spiked 8X in Chicago between June 9-16, and there were more than 20,000+ searches for the Blackhawks parade route, which took place Thursday with more than 2 million attendees.

Hockey and basketball not your game? Then perhaps you were one of the 8 million people watching the fifth-season finale of HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” (Spoilers for the show follow.) The show was the subject of 2 million searches on Sunday night, as people watched with baited breath to find out what gruesome ends the show had in store for their favorite characters this season. One of the top questions about the show was simply “Who died on ‘Game of Thrones’?”, while others expressed their disbelief by asking “Is Jon Snow dead?” and “Is Stannis dead?” There were also more than 200K searches for Lena Headley, who plays Cersei Lannister, and another 20K later in the week for Rebecca Van Cleave, Headley’s body double for a scene where Cersei is forced to walk naked through the streets. Finally, there was a lot of interest in Arya Stark, one of few surviving Stark children, whose path on the show has also been one of the strangest.

Tip of the week

This weekend marks the first official day of summer, and that means BBQ season. If you’re watching what you eat, Google can help you figure out what to choose at the picnic table. Just ask Google to “compare coleslaw and potato salad” or “compare burgers and pulled pork.”

Emily Wood searched this week for [jurassic world showtimes].

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