Thursday, 10 December 2020 12:29

Google's 'Year in Search 2020': Here’s what Aussies searched for this year


With 2020 a year we'll never forget, what were the top searches by Aussies during the year on Google, as reported by Google? There's also a great three minute film that wraps up the year and shows that we all searched "why" more than ever.

Google. Whatever you think about the company and its famed "Do no evil" ethics, there's no question that it is the most spectacularly successful search engine ever, and even though Google's strengths as an advertising company have never been more apparent, Google is one of the products that we all rely on every day, multiple times a day, like digital water to quench our never-ending thirst for more information.

To wrap up what has been an absolutely incredible year on just about every front you can imagine, Google Australia's Communications and Public Affairs Manager, Camilla Ibrahim, has put together a fantastic blog post over at the official Google Australia Blog, entitled "Year in Search 2020: Here’s what Aussies searched for this year", which I'm reprinting in full below, and as always, it's an eye opener.

So, from fires to facemasks and sourdough, Camilla takes us through this year’s top trending searches which "show our wide spectrum of curiosities, worries and cravings".

As Camilla notes, "2020 has been a year like no other, marked by blazing bushfires, a global pandemic – and cravings for comfort food. We sought definitions, made sense of restrictions and looked to help people in need. We were stood down from jobs, stood up for Black Lives Matter and stood behind Quaden Bayles.

"We hunted for hand sanitiser, stocked up on toilet paper and donated bales of hay. And looking abroad, we followed the US election, the Beirut explosion and said goodbye to some greats".

Now, there's some great lists from Google that Camilla has shared below, but first, here's Google Australia's "Year In Search 2020" video, which notes that "this year, the world searched 'why' more than ever", and "features the questions we asked this year, with words by Kofi Lost and narration by Meyne Wyatt".

So, while you can find the Global 2020 Google Search trends here, Camilla notes that "as the year draws to a close, it’s time to reflect on the moments that made Aussies wonder, question and rally together".

Here's her snapshot of five themes showing what caught Aussies' attention in Search in 2020:

Health, safety and livelihood

2020 began with smokey skies as Australia battled raging bushfires – prompting us to search for ‘fires near me’ and check the air quality. Not long after, COVID-19 rattled the world, steering our searches towards safeguards and lockdown kits. We were on a mission for hand sanitiser, face masks, antibacterial wipes and isopropyl alcohol. We asked how to get tested for coronavirus, how far we could travel and if we could go fishing. And as jobs were stood down or lost, we looked to apply for Centrelink and JobKeeper.

A new language for our new normal

We may have been lost for words this year, but it turns out we found some new ones too. Search shows we were looking to understand medical, scientific and political terminology – as we looked up the definitions of COVID, pandemic, lockdown and stimulus package. As people joined and watched the Black Lives Matter protests, we wanted to know what BIPOC stood for. And as “Karen” memes filled feeds, Aussies wanted to get across this new slang term.

Buying and DIYing

The top trending DIY queries show that Aussies were crafty, resourceful and ambitious in 2020. As protective and sanitary products flew off the shelves, we wanted to to know how to make hand sanitiser, face masks, toilet paper – and even ventilators. We were also inspired to treat ourselves to some much needed self-care, searching to buy neck hammocks, dumbbells and looking for DIY foot scrubs.

Savoury, sweet and sanitary (!) recipes

Food was a big feature of 2020, with many of us cooking up storms and eating at home more than ever before. Curiously, for the first time, a non-edible item has topped the list of top trending recipes: hand sanitiser. On a yummier note, baked goods were a stand out this year. Sourdough topped the list of (edible) recipes and we also kneaded donuts, crumpets, macarons, Anzac cookies and banana bread. Moving on to heartier, main meals, good ol’ spag bol and Beef Stroganoff also featured on the menu of top trending recipes. And finally, for a caffeine hit, we jumped on the Dalgona coffee bandwagon.

Rising up and reaching out

While 2020 brought many hurdles, our searches show that Aussies were looking for ways to help each other through the hardship. As many Aussies struggled in drought and fire bush affected areas, we looked to “buy from the bush,” “buy Aussie now” and “buy a bale.” And when Quaden Bayles shared his heartbreaking story as a victim of bullying, we stood behind him – making Quaden the top trending kid on Search in Australia in 2020.

To dive into Australia's lists, check out the full trending lists for 2020:

Overall Searches:

1. US election
2. Coronavirus
3. NBA
4. Zoom
5. Coronavirus symptoms
6. Kobe Bryant
7. Weather tomorrow
8. Fires near me
9. Coronavirus Victoria
10, Trump vs Biden

News topics:

1. US election
2. Coronavirus
3. Fires near me
4. Coronavirus Victoria
5. Toilet paper
6. NSW fires
7. Qantas share price
8. Air quality Melbourne
9. Beirut explosion
10. NSW coronavirus

Australian public figures:

1. Dani Laidley
2. Celeste Barber
3. Gladys Berejiklian
4. George Pell
5.Quaden Bayles
6. Pete Evans
7. Nicola Gobbo
8. Peter Dutton
9. Richard Pusey
10. Ben Cousins

Global public figures:

1. Joe Biden
2. Kim Jong Un
3. Boris Johnson
4. Kamala Harris
5. Tom Hanks
6. Kanye West
7. Joe Exotic
8. Donald Trump
9. Prince Harry
10. Carole Baskin


1. Kobe Bryant
2. Naya Rivera
3. Chadwick Boseman
4. George Floyd
5. Sean Connery
6. Caroline Flack
7. Kelly Preston
8. Kenny Rogers
9. Sushant Singh Rajput
10. Shane Tuck


1. NBA
2. EPL
3. State of Origin 2020
4. Champions League
5. IPL
6. French Open
7. ATP Cup
8. Australia vs New Zealand
9. Tennis Australian Open
10. AFL scores


1. Hand sanitizer
2. Sourdough bread
3. Beef Stroganoff
4. Spaghetti bolognese
5. Donut
6. Crumpet
7. Macaron
8. Anzac cookie
9. Banana bread
10. Dalgona coffee

How to….?

1. How to make hand sanitizer
2. How to make a face mask
3. How to use Zoom
4. How to get tested for coronavirus
5. How to make bread
6. How to make self raising flour
7. How to apply for Centrelink
8. How to buy shares
9. How to apply for JobKeeper
10. How to make whipped coffee


1. DIY hand sanitiser
2. DIY face mask pattern
3. DIY neck hammock
4. DIY ventilator
4. DIY foot scrub
5. DIY fire pit area
6. DIY toilet paper
7. DIY pottery kit
8. DIY antibacterial wipes
9. DIY scrunchie holder


2. Pandemic
3. Branch stacking
4. Stimulus package
5. Stand down
6. Portmanteau
8. Barre
9. Lockdown
10. Karen

Goods and giving:

1. Where to buy face masks
2. Buy toilet paper online
3. Buy from the bush
4. Buy Ps5
5. Buy Aussie now
6. Where to buy hand sanitizer
7. Buy isopropyl alcohol
8. Buy a bale
9. Buy Xbox Series X
10. Buy dumbbells

‘Can I….?’

1.Where can I buy toilet paper
2. Where can I buy hand sanitiser
3. Where can I get tested for coronavirus
4. Can I access my super
5. How many people can I have in my house
6. When can I access my super
7. Can I go fishing in NSW
8. How much can I borrow home loan
9. How far can I travel in QLD
10. Can I leave Australia

The US version of Google's Year in Search 2020 video is embedded below:


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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