Here’s what people Googled this year as they tried to make sense of 2020

Dec 9, 2020, 5:52 AM
Google closeup logo displayed on a phone screen, smartphone on a keyboard is seen in this multiple ...
Google closeup logo displayed on a phone screen, smartphone on a keyboard is seen in this multiple exposure illustration, the company's symbol is globally recognized. Google, LLC is an American tech giant, a multinational technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and products, which include online advertising technologies, a search engine, cloud computing, software, and hardware. It is considered one of the Big Four technology companies in the U.S. . Amsterdam, the Netherlands on October 22, 2020 (Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
(Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

    (CNN) — What do Animal Crossing, “WAP,” sourdough bread, Timothée Chalamet and “social distancing date ideas” all have in common?

They were all popular Google searches in 2020.

Google released its annual “Year in Search” list Wednesday. The list acts as a sort of chronicle of the decades worth of newsworthy things that took place during this one weird year. The list features the year’s top trending searches, which had a high spike in traffic over a sustained period in 2020 compared to 2019.

As people tried to make sense of the overwhelming barrage of news in 2020, global queries including the word “why” — such as “why is the NBA postponed?” and “why is toilet paper sold out?” — were searched more often than in any year before, Google said in a video released along with the list Wednesday.

Unsurprisingly, “election results” and “coronavirus” topped the US trending searches list, as people sought answers about the deadly pandemic and a crucial election that took longer than usual to play out because of the pandemic. Also among the top 10 on the list: Zoom, Naya Rivera, Chadwick Boseman and PlayStation 5.

Google also broke out top US trending searches in a number of categories.

The “news” category includes queries about stimulus checks, the payments given to millions of Americans as part of the $2.2 trillion congressional coronavirus relief package passed in March; Iran, whose general Qasem Soleimani was killed in a US airstrike in early January, setting off a period of tension between the two countries; and murder hornets, the giant invasive bugs spotted in Washington state earlier this year.

The news category also includes two of the year’s major natural disasters: Hurricane Laura, a Category 4 storm that caused death and destruction in Louisiana and Texas, and the Australia fires, which devastated large swaths of the country and killed an estimated 3 billion animals.

Elsewhere, the list highlights some of this year’s prominent losses: basketball star Kobe Bryant, trailblazing Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and renowned guitarist Eddie Van Halen, as well as George Floyd, whose death sparked a nationwide reckoning and movement for racial justice.

Despite all of the hardships of 2020, people stepped up to help one another in some extraordinary ways. The “how to help” section of the list shows people searched for ways to help the Black Lives Matter movement, Yemen, Beirut and someone having a panic attack. People also looked into how to donate blood, plasma and N95 masks, among other things, during the health crisis.

And, of course, the top trending searches list also features some of the ways we coped and kept ourselves entertained this year. Popular searches included “drive in movie theater near me,” “virtual EDC rave,” “how to cut men’s hair at home”, and “how to make hand sanitizer.”

And lest we leave out any of the other events that contributed to 2020’s chaos, here are a few other things not yet mentioned that also appeared on the list: the US crackdown on TikTok, Elon Musk’s baby, stock market madness, a boom in popularity of whipped coffee, online school, a number of companies making Juneteenth a corporate holiday, “The Last Dance” documentary series chronicling Michael Jordan’s career, “Parasite” making history as the first non-English language film to win the Oscar for best picture, and the list goes on.

™ & © 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

Today’s Top Stories


NBA Ice Buckets...
Devin Oldroyd

NBA fans invited to show “ice in their veins” at NBA Ice Buckets challenge

The NBA and Utah Jazz invite you to play NBA Ice Buckets, a free-to-play indoor basketball shooting challenge at Trolley Square.
3 days ago
Ballet West "Nutcracker" battle scene....
Waverly Golden

Ballet West continues longstanding tradition, The Nutcracker

Until Dec. 24, Ballet West will be showing performances of The Nutcracker at the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre in Salt Lake City.
3 days ago
video game...
Elizabeth Weiler

BYU students win international award for video game

SALT LAKE CITY — Students apart of the animation program at BYU received international recognition from the Rookie Awards for developing and producing a video game. Additionally, the “Highly Commended” also helped BYU earn the global ranking of fifth top video game design school.  The interactive computer game in question is titled Liminus: The Silent Guard, it […]
3 days ago
The Pantone Color Institute has named Viva Magenta as its color of the year for 2023, saying it is ...
Faith Karimi, CNN

Pantone reveals 2023 Color of the Year and new exhibit

The Pantone Color Institute's choice for 2023, Viva Magenta, is described as an unconventional color for an unconventional time.
3 days ago
The inventor of the Rubik's Cube offers advice for solving it, and says 'don't fear the complexity...
MARK KENNEDY AP Entertainment Writer

The mind behind the Rubik’s Cube celebrates a lasting puzzle

Ernő Rubik invented the cube in 1974. Since then, the puzzle has become a worldwide phenomenon with over 450 million cubes sold.
4 days ago
Christine McVie, one of the members of Fleetwood Mac, has died at the age of 79....
Lisa Respers France

Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac dead at 79

A statement from McVie's family said she'd been hospitalized with a short illness, and that her family was with her when she died.
5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Here’s what people Googled this year as they tried to make sense of 2020