The Game of Thrones Starbucks cup debacle. Watching Notre Dame go up in flames. The moment the world fell in love with Baby Yoda. Going through Google’s top searches of the year feels like flipping through a scrapbook of the internet’s collective obsessions. Released this week, the company’s annual “Year in Search” gives a snapshot of the most impactful celebrities, news, and trends of 2019—at least, in terms of Google searches—and this year’s data illustrates one fact very clearly: In its first full calendar year in America, TikTok has become the new progenitor of memes.
This decade we saw the smartphone move from overpriced gadget to something more necessary than a laptop or desktop. We saw the e-reader settle on a design so perfect it’s barely changed in seven years. We saw games systems that made us rethink how we game and laptops that made us rethink what a good laptop should look like. There were incredible wearables, and remarkable VR systems, and drones so well designed practically anyone can fly them. Below are the most innovative gadgets of the decade—the ones that will continue to matter long after the devices themselves become obsolete.