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The best of the best-ofs

The best of the best-ofs

Good morning. 'Tis the season for best-of lists! Every tech company and platform loves to make 'em, so Protocol's Anna Kramer went through them all to find some of the most important internet moments of 2020. I'll let her take it from here.

As always, let me know what you think, and what you'd like to see more of in our weekend edition. I'm david@protocol.com and Anna is akramer@protocol.com, or you can just reply to this email. Oh, and you can listen to this week's Source Code podcast here. Thanks! On to the good stuff.

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A Look Back at 2020

It's been a year, folks. The best of the internet isn't just a collection of apps and fun videos and memes anymore; this year, it's a messy, glorious window into the ways we coped with tragedy, divided each other, found joy together and loved. I thought this would be easy to put together, but instead I found myself on the verge of tears (good tears!) more than once. Here's hoping for a good end of 2020 and a much better, and less complicated, 2021.

Just looking for something to make you happy? These are three of the best things on the internet in 2020, IMHO: this "Blinding Lights" video; these videos of Italians making music together on their balconies during lockdown and angry Italian mayors lecturing people in the streets; and John Krasinski's virtual graduation ceremony (which was about the only thing that got me through my own virtual college graduation).

Coping with quarantine. Can't talk about life in 2020 without talking about life at home, right? Sourdough bread and whipped coffee were the recipes most people searched for on Google in the U.S., while in Turkey, people got really excited about ekmek. What's ekmek, you ask? It's sort of a cross between cheesecake and bread pudding and custard tart, and it was the second most-searched recipe globally this year.

At-home workout video stars also had breakout years on YouTube: Chloe Ting's workout challenges landed her at No. 6 on YouTube's most-streamed creator list, and "Yoga with Adriene" became a cult obsession during the pandemic.

The tragedies. The deaths of our heroes brought us together. After he died in a tragic helicopter crash in May, Kobe Bryant became the third most-searched term globally on Google this year, and his passing was the most-discussed moment on Facebook. More than 6 million people posted in memory of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg on Facebook and Instagram in one day, trending #restinpower. And Chadwick Boseman's death made the entire world search for information about colon cancer.

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More of 2020

The year of TikTok. If you're not on TikTok at this point, you are truly ~not online~. TikTok's reign at the top of the charts definitely had something to do with Trump's efforts to ban it, but the app probably didn't need the help.

In TikTok world, it was the year that Bella did the M to the B, Will wiped it down and the goose threw it back. (If you don't know what any of that means, check out the links). The "Blinding Lights" challenge made us laugh, Charli D'Amelio became the most famous teen in America and Doja Cat's "Say So" hit the top of the streaming charts because of Haley Sharpe's iconic dance.

AltTok and WitchTok and DracoTok were the top niche communities this year, though WitchTok probably made the biggest splash when some baby witches put a hex on the moon and really pissed off Marianne Williamson. For the uninitiated, hexing the moon is a very bad thing to do in the world of the Wicca.

Black Lives Matter. George Floyd's killing in May tripled the mentions of Black Lives Matter on Facebook and Instagram, while Dave Chapelle's impromptu YouTube video "8:46" captured the anger and agony rippling through the U.S. during the summer of protests, and became this year's top trending video on YouTube.

Kitschy games rule the world. The indie alien spaceship multiplayer game Among Us was the most-downloaded free game on the App Store this year. It's been around since 2018 but went viral on YouTube, TikTok and Twitch in September, when it was livestreamed by influencers and stars like PewDiePie and James Charles.

Spongebob: Krusty Cook-Off was the Google Play users' choice game of the year, while Minecraft was the most-downloaded paid game on the iOS App Store. YouTube streamer Dream took the No. 2 spot on the top creator's lists for his Minecraft videos.

No surprises here. Coronavirus was the most-searched term on Google globally, followed by election results (these two were reversed in the U.S.). Between Google Play and the App Store, Zoom, TikTok and Disney+ were the most universally popular free apps in the U.S. And on the music front, Puerto-Rican rapper Bad Bunny, Drake and J Balvin were the most-streamed artists on Spotify, while Billie Eilish, Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande claimed the top spots for female artists, in that order.

And let's end with the joyful. On YouTube, Mark Rober's "Building the Perfect Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder" was the No. 2 top-trending video, and SNL's "First Debate Cold Open" was number three. Both are a guaranteed good time.

And finally, John Krasinski reminded us that even at the darkest moments, there will always be "Some Good News." At least until you sell it to Viacom.

A MESSAGE FROM SALESFORCE

Salesforce

Join us this Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. PT/12:30 p.m. ET for a deep dive discussion into what lies ahead for this unprecedented medical, logistical, technical and political challenge. Protocol will host a panel conversation with ESRI's chief medical officer Este Geraghty, Yale's director of Yale's institute for global health Saad Omer and Direct Relief's VP of research and analysis Andrew Schroeder, as well as a sponsored keynote interview with Salesforce's Dr. Ashwini Zenooz. This event is presented by Salesforce.

RSVP today.

Today's Source Code was written by David Pierce and Anna Kramer. Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to david@protocol.com, or our tips line, tips@protocol.com. Enjoy your day, see you tomorrow.

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