As 2016 draws to a close, Google has drawn up its annual list of most popular searches, from the attack on Brussels airport to Brexit, Spain’s second general election in six months on June 26, the peace deal in Colombia, and the Rio Olympic Games. The search engine has collated searches thematically and by country.
Inevitably, there are major global events, such as the US elections or the death of Prince or David Bowie, that interested people in just about every corner of the planet. But filtering by country produces some surprising, and at times amusing, results.
Spain’s top searches
Among the main concerns of Spaniards were: “How can I be more charismatic?”, or “How can I be a Pokemon Go coach?”, or “What is Brexit?”. But not all searches were so mundane, with some people concerned as to what would happen if there were no moon, or if the Earth stopped rotating. How to be a blogger, make a career on Instagram, or what interior decorating site Habitissimo has to offer, were among the top 10 searches.
In Latin America, Argentineans seem to have been particularly worried about their appearance, asking: “How can I reduce my gut?”, while at the same time wanting to know how to make pancakes and a number of other desserts. Perhaps reflecting the country’s economic crisis, many people wanted to know when they would get their social security allowance and how to write a resume, while others asked: “What is dengue?” and “How do I know if I am pregnant?”
Among the main concerns of Spaniards were: “How can I be more charismatic?”
This has been the year when Brazilians seemingly forgot what love is. Aside from “What is love?” many wanted to know what a crush was. Unsurprisingly, given that Rio de Janeiro was hosting the event, the Olympics was one of the most popular subjects people searched for information about. Brazilians were also concerned with democracy, art, ethics and culture.
Chileans seem to have been particularly caught up in the Pokemon Go epidemic that swept the world this summer, with any number of searches related to the video game such as “How do you play Pokemon Go?” or How does Eeve develop?” At the same time, questions such as “How do you make a conceptual map?” were a concern, as were defining the difference between analysis and hypothesis. “What are Chilean women like physically?” was the tenth most popular search, but there was no information as to which gender was asking the question.
Many Argentineans wanted to know when they would get their social security allowance
Colombia seems to have gone back in time 15 years, with one of the most popular questions being “What is the Fellowship of the Ring?” from The Lord of the Rings, the movie version of which was released in 2001. Unsurprisingly, the referendum on the peace deal between the government and the FARC guerrillas was the most popular search. “What is speed?” also preoccupied a significant number of Colombians.
Mexicans were also captivated by Pokemon Go, with people asking what the video game was, and how they could download it. Given the media coverage of the US election campaign, it was little wonder that large numbers of Mexicans also wanted to know who Donald Trump was. Also reflecting their concerns about international affairs, many people asked “How does Brexit affect Mexico?” At the same time, there was concern about the zika virus, as well as how to tie one’s hair in a bow.
English version by Nick Lyne.