As we approach 2019, it’s time for Google to reveal our search habits for another year. And while you’d imagine a late flurry of searches for “no-confidence motion” with today’s political drama, it didn’t quite come in early enough to make the cut.
Unsurprisingly it was sporting drama that mainly dominated UK search engines, with England’s unexpectedly strong performance in Russia fueling searches for “World Cup” – the most searched for term of 2018.
Elsewhere, Prince Harry’s wedding led to the second and third most popular search terms – “Royal wedding” and “Meghan Markle,” while “Black Panther” and “Roxanne Pallett” rounded out the top five. Surprise gaming hit Fortnite narrowly missed out, finishing sixth.
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Perhaps more revealing is the most searched for terms that begin with the words “How to.” These sometimes reflect upcoming events (“How to watch Fury vs. Wilder/the Champions League final”), but also current news events, with “How to delete Facebook/Instagram” surfacing in the wake of the company’s difficult year. An alarming number of people were also seeking advice on “how to floss dance” – considerably more than those wanting to know “how to bleed a radiator” or “get the old Snapchat back”.
The “what is” series of questions generally reflected areas of the news that people wanted more information on: “Bitcoin”, “GDPR”, “nerve agent”, “the Brexit deal” and “upskirting” all got asked about, as did the “ibex”. Apparently that flurry of interest in the wild goat was thanks to Jeremy Clarkson’s revival of Who Wants to be a Millionaire.
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Speaking of television, the reboot of Chris Tarrant’s famous quiz show didn’t make the top ten. I’m a Celebrity, Killing Eve and The Bodyguard were the top shows according to Google, but it was a reality-TV heavy list, with Love Island, Big Brother (both celebrity and regular) and Dancing on Ice all making the cut.
Of those that died in 2018, Avicii attracted the most searches, followed by Alfie Evans and Dale Winton. Stephen Hawking, Mac Miller, George Bush, Stan Lee, XXXTentacion, Aretha Franklin and Verne Troyer also generated a significant number of searches, too.
Although Google’s Year in Search may seem like a bit of fun, it can actually be quite telling. How people search in the privacy of their own homes is the purest way of telling what they’re actually interested in. And while that’s often news driven, it’s clear that some things generate significantly more interest than others. In some ways, the events that didn’t make the list are more interesting than the things that did. In this Brexit-dominated year, it’s telling that not one politician featured in the “trending people” list, for example.
Do the top searches of 2018 surprise you? Let us know what you think on Twitter: @TrustedReviews