What Google’s popular searches say about America 2021

What Google’s popular searches say about America 2021

Every year Google publishes lists of the most popular searches in the United States, giving readers an enticing view of the American collective id.

Instead of simply showing what people have been looking for the most, these lists highlight words and phrases that people are looking for this year that were not previous. In fact, these searches speak to our latest fears, desires and questions – things we were too ashamed to ask anyone but Google.

As Google Data Editor Simon Rogers give it to me last year, “You are never as honest as you are with your search engine. You get a sense of what people really care about and what they really want to know – not just how they present themselves to the rest of the world. ”

Lists are, of course, everywhere, but a few common themes came to the fore, offering insight into what it really looked like to be an American in 2021. This year, our search histories spoke of our interest in alternatives such as cryptocurrencies and NFT, such as and persistent economic uncertainty, as evidenced by our questions about when we will receive our incentive checks and whether we would qualify for student loan forgiveness. The cultural rift between millennials and Generation Z has emerged in inquiries about what hair types and jeans are in style, as well as other social media trends that everyone seems to have liked, such as how to make TikTok pasta or Squid game cookies. And finally, in the years when Covid-19 vaccines became widely available, many Americans turned to the search engine to understand how to be a normal person again, because people attended personal events again and had to figure out which pants people wore.

Economic interest – and uncertainty

Depending on your point of view, 2021 was the year in which cryptocurrency grew into a sustainable financial asset, proved to be a scam or simply when it became mainstream. It was definitely popular on Google.

Dogecoin was also a top trending topic in the “how to pronounce” and “where to buy” categories (however, people were more interested in where to buy it than how to pronounce it). The price of ethereum was top news search. Meme stocks like AMC and GameStop there were also new popular searches in 2021. They also, incomprehensibly, had good results on the stock market this year.

Perhaps the basis of this newly discovered interest in the stock market – and alternative assets as a way to get rich quick – is the constant economic uncertainty in the United States. Popular Mega Millions lottery searches and incentive checks suggest that regular revenue streams have not been very successful. Popular career searches included extremely weak but flexible jobs, such as Amazon salespeople and Doordash drivers.

Despite disposal repayment of student loans and interest by January 2022, it was common for Americans to wonder about this forgiveness and cancellation of student loan this year. Rising student loan debt has been a major economic hurdle for many younger Americans, causing everything from delayed home ownership to wealth inequality.

None of the trending finances are particularly stable, probably because contributing to your 401k is less sexy than a blockchain (but it’s probably a better financial bet, too). Sites like TikTok are full of financial advice, but it might be wiser to use them to figure out what to wear instead of how to build wealth.

Generational divisions and TikTok trends

This year, a mostly overblown war between millennials and Gen Z played on social media and in search. The younger group ridiculed millennials for doing millennial things like wearing side parts and skinny jeans – and also for not having a home. Some millennials took the criticism too seriously and did not take the joke. Others simply asked if skinny jeans or bell-bottom jeans were in style (both were popular searches).

Instead of reflecting anything essential about the millennial style, melee instead illustrated the growing self-awareness among millennials who, once a roadmap for every boomer complaint, may be losing cultural relevance.

The Internet has also been full of trends that have seemingly spread for generations. Numerous food trends (TikTok pasta), style trends (dark academy) and celebrity trends (Pete Davidson) have appeared in Google searches, although it is unclear how powerful they are because every day something new seems to be coming to TikTok or a cultural channel.

As Vox’s senior culture correspondent Rebecca Jennings recently told me, virality has become even more ephemeral as rising and falling trends happen faster than ever before. So, although searches for cottagecore, wolf hairstyles and hamantaschen are in trend, it is probably not necessary to find out what they are.

How to proceed

This was a year in which Americans gained not only a working understanding of vaccines, but also a pronounced preference in the pharmaceutical companies that offered them. “Pfizer or Modern” was a groundbreaking search, as people declared their allegiance to #TeamPfizer or #TeamModern to social media posts and even goods. These searches had a sense of relief at their core.

Apart from looking for a place to get vaccinated, searches for nearby bars, bowling, brunch and buffets are at the top of the list of trends “near me”. These were activities that were almost unthinkable last year, when popular searches included finding nearby toilet paper and protests. People have also recently been looking for what to wear to concerts, wedding showers and graduations – again, events that mostly didn’t exist last year. These trendy searches are indicators that we are trying to remember how to be normal again after living so strangely.

Perhaps the most shocking of the popular search categories were searches that started with “how to be”.

It guided him on how to qualify for a stimulus test, but also pointed out the fundamental insecurities many of us face after nearly two years in relative isolation: “How to be more attractive,” “How to be happy alone,” “How to be I’m happy with myself “and” How to kiss well “were all on the list.

These lists are a fun picture of what it is like to be an American in 2021: awkward, hopeful, financially and socially uncertain. They are also a good reminder that many things about how to live cannot be understood online.

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