In what has been another year of challenges and uncertainty for many of us, what have we all been searching for online? What kept us entertained during lockdown? And what questions did we ask? Google attempts to give us those answers after it recently revealed its “Year in Search” feature – a roundup of Google’s top search terms of 2021. This includes both lists for the world as a whole and individual countries.
As a nation it seems like the UK are as sports-mad as ever with “Euros” being the most searched for term, while “premier league” also made it into the top 5, shortly followed by Prince Philip. Much of Europe was similar with a sports heavy top 5 in both search terms and several sports stars making up the most searched for people lists. The UK’s love for reality TV shone through as “Love Island” secured a spot in the most searched for questions and it was of course in the company of “lockdown,” the dreaded word of the year from 2020. “Covid vaccine” and “Matt Hancock” were unsurprisingly the two most searched for terms with regards to news events across the UK.
On a broader level, Google also compiles lists for the 70 countries included as a whole to give a more global picture of our search habits. It seems like many of us had a taste for viral Korean TV series Squid Game and Olivia Rodrigo’s Drivers Licence as they were the most searched for TV show and song across the world. “How to start a business” was more searched for than “how to get a job” which suggests that an entrepreneurial spirit was felt across the globe!
Some countries like the US for example even have lists that include topics as specific as most searched for aesthetics and recipes. Could that be the influence of TikTok shining through here? It’s highly likely and with lists this specific you can get a real insight to a country’s current trends and tastes, a true picture of the year.
But how are the lists created? The Year in Search list is created annually, collating the search terms which spiked in traffic over a prolonged period across the year compared to the previous year. The list therefore provides a snapshot of news, events and moments that define a year, making for something more powerful than it may appear at first look, especially given the circumstances of the past two years. For instance, in 2021 “doomscrolling” was searched for more than ever globally but in the same vein so was “how to say love you in sign language” so the internet isn’t always as negative a place as you might think.
Were your most searched for terms similar to the rest of the world?
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