This is peak 2020: global Google searches beginning with “why” were higher than ever this year.
For many people, the past several months have felt more like a decade, beginning with the devastating wildfires in Australia and the sudden deaths of Kobe Bryant and his daughter in January, followed by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting health and economic crises that started rocking the world in March and April. Throw in worldwide protests following the deaths of Black Americans including George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, a contentious U.S. presidential election and a series of severe weather events, including California fires literally turning the sky orange, and it’s no wonder that “why?” was on everyone’s lips and fingertips in 2020.
That’s according to Google’s
annual “Year in Search” report released on Wednesday, which serves as a fascinating time capsule for the highs and lows of 2020.
There is plenty of stress to be found in the year’s top trends. “Coronavirus” and “election results” were the top two global searches overall and the top two news searches of 2020, and President-elect Joe Biden was the most-searched person. Searches for “stimulus check” and “unemployment” also made the top 10 news topics as millions of Americans have lost their jobs. The deaths of Bryant and Floyd, as well as actors Naya Rivera and Chadwick Boseman, were among the most-searched losses. And “insomnia” was Googled more in 2020 than ever before, while “how to help acid reflux” made the top five “how to help” list.
Related:‘Pandemic’ and ‘lockdown’ defined 2020, according to ‘word of the year’ lists
But many of this year’s search trends were also surprisingly hopeful, and suggest that 2021 could be a year of positive change. Watch the short “Year in Search” film here:
For example, the report points out that “how to be anti-racist” was Googled more than “how to be a millionaire,” and “how to be an ally” was searched more than “how to be an influencer” as the world faced a reckoning on systemic racism. “Black Lives Matter” was also looked up worldwide for the first time this year, and Google searches for it jumped five-fold compared with last year. MarketWatch introduced The Value Gap this year, an interview series about the economic dimensions of inequality and racism.
Read:‘Being anti-racist is a verb, so it requires action’: Don’t stop demanding racial equality — how to become a lifelong ally
People across the globe also searched “how to help” more than ever before, including “how to help Australia fires,” “how to help Black Lives Matter” and “how to help during coronavirus.” What’s more, “how to donate” was searched twice as much as “how to save money” — even though millions of Americans have lost their jobs since the beginning of the pandemic.
Read:Will November’s ‘disappointing’ jobs report bolster the case for a second round of stimulus checks?
And believe it or not, “how to change the world” was actually searched twice as much as “how to go back to normal” — as much as we all wish for a return to life before COVID-19 — while “protest near me” was searched in every state in America for the first time in Google Trends history.
MarketWatch has tackled these topics and more throughout the twists and turns of 2020 to keep readers informed, and to help them make financial decisions during the economic downturn.
For example, this Coronavirus Recovery Tracker draws from a half-dozen weekly indicators, such as unemployment and consumer confidence, to show how much progress the economy is making — which can help give some idea as to how close we are to going back to “normal.”
The daily Coronavirus Update keeps tabs on COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths, as well as the latest news in the race to develop a viable vaccine.
And some of the leading voices in the U.S. on the COVID-19 pandemic have participated in our A Word from the Experts series of conversations about the latest virus research and public health reports.
As for how to help, here’s an explainer on how charitable donations can aid in the COVID-19 vaccination rollout. And before donating money to any cause, take these three steps to make sure that your money is being spent wisely.
The nation is also facing a critical blood shortage, so here is what to know about giving blood right now — as well as some of the perks and prizes currently being dangled in front of potential donors.
Global search interest for “foster a dog” also reached an all-time high this year, as people spending more time at home realized they were in a good position to rescue a pet. In fact, President-elect Joe Biden is poised to bring the first-ever shelter dog into the White House next month. So here’s what you need to know about rescuing a pet during the pandemic.
Not surprisingly, “how to be a teacher” was searched more than ever in 2020 as many parents suddenly had to add home schooling to their daily routines when many schools closed and classes moved online. This video features 10 tips from teachers on schooling young kids from home.
Worldwide searches for “support small business” also doubled over the past year, as many smaller retailers, restaurants and other services have been hit especially hard by local shelter-in-place orders that have shut down nonessential businesses to stem the spread of COVID-19. It appears that 60% of Yelp businesses that closed during the pandemic could stay shut permanently. Here are some ways to support small businesses during the holidays. Searches for “black-owned” also more than doubled over the past year; here are five ways to support black-owned businesses.
Read:Helping companies that ‘keep the country going’: Small businesses can narrow racial wealth gaps and save the U.S. economy, says microlender’s CEO
The top “how to make” questions included “how to make hand sanitizer” and “how to make a mask” as well as “how to make whipped coffee” — click the hyperlinks on each of these queries to read MarketWatch’s DIY guides. (Although when it comes to hand sanitizer, health experts say you’re better off washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water instead.)
On the more entertaining side of searches, “NBA bubble” was Googled more than “stock market bubble” as professional basketball players isolated themselves in order to keep playing. Tesla
stock reaching record highs also topped the most-searched news list. And “Among Us” became the most-searched videogame — here’s an explainer on how to play, and why even Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez started playing it.
Here were the top 10 overall Google searches globally:
- Election results
- Kobe Bryant
- India vs New Zealand
- Coronavirus update
- Coronavirus symptoms
- Joe Biden
- Google Classroom
These were the top 10 news stories searched on Google:
- Election results
- Stimulus checks
- Tesla stock
- Bihar election result
- Black Lives Matter
Check out Google’s complete “Year in Search 2020” here. It’s the latest in year-end recaps hitting the web. Twitter
and Reddit also dropped their 2020 trend lists this week, while Spotify
recently released the most popular podcasts and playlists that have helped us get through the year.