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A review of 2016 – what’s gone on online?


A review of 2016 – what’s gone on online?

With 2016 now in its final days, it is the perfect time to have a brief reflection on some of the news and stories that hit headlines in the last 12 months.

Pokémon Go

In the summer, a new craze took over the globe – Pokémon Go. The augmented reality app was released in July and instantly took the world by storm. It took the app just 19 days to rack up 50 million users. The game was so successful that even businesses could latch on to it, encouraging users to visit their stores/bars/wherever by setting up Pokéstops and other in-play interests.

Facebook v Snapchat

This was a recurring theme throughout the year. Facebook is so desperate to emulate the success of the photo-exchanging app Snapchat that it has tried anything and everything to copy and overtake it.

At times, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg must have wished he put in a higher offer to buy Snapchat back in 2013, but this has not stopped him trying. Facebook has created numerous clones and apps of the platform, but none have taken off. One of the recent successes was adding Instagram stories to the popular photo-sharing app Instagram, which it owns.

Earlier this month, the company may have found another breakthrough in this obsession, with its Messenger app. It has tried something that Snapchat hasn’t, and introduced ways in which users can add filters and other items before a photograph is inserted. I expect this battle to continue into 2017.

Fake news

One of the biggest controversies of the year has been the whole fake news debate. In a nutshell, fake news stories have been circulating on some well-known platforms such as Facebook and Google News. It escalated into something much bigger than it probably should have been when it was suggested that the fake news scandal swayed the result of the US Presidential election.

Facebook’s slow response to attempting to sort the issue has also come under some criticism, especially after some students showed them how to do it in very little time. However, the social media giant is now on the case and is suggesting ways in which it can crack down on this plague upon reliable news stories. Hopefully, these demons will be laid to rest early next year.

Top searches

As is now tradition, Google announced its top searches for the year using data from Google Trends. Here in the UK, we all went mad for Euro 2016 in the summer as three of the four home nations and neighbouring Republic of Ireland all took part. This was followed by Pokémon Go and now departed musical icon, David Bowie.

You can explore the lists for yourself and find out lots of interesting stats such as who was the most Googled woman in the UK (Spoiler – it’s not X Factor’s Honey G), and the most Googled ‘where is’ question. Just click here to find out more.

It was certainly a year where a lot of talking points were created, and no doubt 2017 will bring up a whole load more.

Alan Littler

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