What Americans searched most on Google in 2022
If Google searches are a window into what Americans really think, millions of us have zeroed in on the daily online word game developed by a New York-based software engineer.
It was the impact of Wordle, the most searched term in 2022, that surprised Simon Rogers, head of the trend data team at Google, the most surprising with this year’s data.
“All of the most popular definitions are associated with Wordles and their impact on our data cannot be overstated,” Rogers told VOA in an email.
The top five most popular searches on Google in 2022 — Wordle, election results, Betty White, Queen Elizabeth and Bob Saget — also focused on politics and famous people who died this year.
With 92% of the search engine market share globally, Google is the dominant way Americans search for information around the world.
“Google searches reflect what we really care about,” says Rogers. “It tends to reflect what we really care about with an honesty that you don’t find in any other data set.”
The top news searches in 2022 were: Election results, Queen Elizabeth’s passage and Ukraine. People also wanted to know how to pronounce Qatar and Kiev; And about things like gas prices, COVID tests, and voting closest to them. They also sought information on how to help Ukraine, Ukrainian refugees, abortion rights, and Uvalde (the scene of an American school shooting in Texas).
“While we may expect the worst or be cynical about human motivations, that’s not what the data shows,” says Rogers. We want to help the people of Ukraine or host refugees. We want to help our friends if they are suffering from depression and we want to donate to good causes. All this is reflected in the data.
Rogers says there were other topics that struck him about the 2022 research data.
“It was an incredibly intense year with really big events all reflected in the way we looked,” he says. Mid term [elections], for one, was actually the most searched midterm of all time. But there were also searches that really talked about the topic of change or improvement. People searched for “help jobs” more than “travel jobs” for example. “
In 2021, there has been some focus on COVID-19 vaccines, stimulus checks, and people like Gabby Petito, Kyle Rittenhouse, and Brian Laundrie — all of whom have been linked to violence and death.
“Last year, it was really about getting through the pandemic and learning how to be outside again. This year marks the next phase of that journey,” says Rogers. [Google] Trends don’t predict the future, given this year’s theme is about change, next year we may start to see the ways people have changed.”
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