Celebrity weddings, football World Cup, WhatsApp stickers, and Bitcoins kept Indians busy on Google in 2018.
It’s that time of the year again... when Google throws up a zeitgeist of our searches on its platform and shows us things that occupied our minds in the past 12 months.
Over time, Google’s Year in Search has emerged as a mirror of sorts to societal trends. Or what TechCrunch describes as “a reckoning, or computation, on what mattered to society in any given year — and sometimes even signal where it’s headed”.
2018 was no different. For India, the year was all about celebrity weddings (three or four of them), a winking actor who became an overnight sensation, the FIFA World Cup (which also topped global searches), the Statue of Unity, WhatsApp stickers, the verdict on Section 377, Bitcoins, and more.
Malayalam actor Priya Prakash Varrier, whose ‘wink song’ from the film Oru Adaar Love became the talk of town, was India’s most searched personality of the year. She was followed by Nick Jonas, American singer-songwriter and now husband of Bollywood-Hollywood actor Priyanka Chopra. Their December wedding was among the top searched events too.
Robot 2.0, starring Rajinikanth and Akshay Kumar, was the most searched movie of the year. Unsurprisingly, movie searches were dominated by Bollywood. Avengers Infinity War was the only Hollywood representation in the top five.
In sports, the FIFA World Cup was the most searched event ahead of even IPL. This is the first time that a non-cricket event has topped sports searches in India. Other top searched events included Asia Cup, Asian Games 2018, and the Winter Olympics.
‘How to’ and ‘what is’ searches showed a significant spike this year.
India’s top searched query in 2018 was ‘how to send stickers on WhatsApp’ followed by ‘how to link Aadhaar with mobile number’. There was ‘how to invest in Bitcoin’ and ‘how to solve Rubik’s cube’ too. Among ‘what is’ searches, Section 377, problems in Syria, kiki challenge, #MeToo, and ball tampering were the top five topics.
‘Near me’ queries also shot up in 2018. They “indicated highest interest for mobile stores, supermarkets, gas stations, and cash points, with jobs near me also in the reckoning,” Google India wrote on its official blog.
Globally, the FIFA World Cup and UK’s Royal Wedding generated maximum buzz on Google Search. In fact, Meghan Markle, former TV actress and now Duchess of Sussex, was 2018’s most searched global personality.