Google's Year in Search makes 2020 seem like an entire decade

It was a year of a pandemic, protests against racism and a major US election.

Jim Bourg / reuters

If you asked me to recount everything that happened this year, I’d probably have to lay down for a few minutes just to process the mess of 2020. Thankfully, Google’s annual search trend report has arrived to give us an unbiased look at everything on our minds. And, not surprisingly, our searches mostly revolved around the COVID-19 pandemic, which instantly reshaped our daily lives; the contentious US election, where Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump; and the Black Lives Matter protests that spurred people across the globe to acknowledge and combat racism.

When it comes to news and overall searches, election results were top of mind, followed by the coronavirus (which took up three spots in our top five searches) and Kobe Bryant. Joe Biden, Kim Jong Un, and Kamala Harris were the most searched people of the year, while Tom Hanks led the charge for actors (likely because he was one of the first to contract COVID-19). The Oscar-winning Parasite was the most searched film of the year, but that cultural win was evened out by Tiger King being the most searched TV show. (Hey, at least the excellent Cobra Kai came in second.)

Given that 2020 was a year when many were forced to lock down at home, people turned to Google to learn skills like cutting, plopping and coloring hair. We learned to cope with the new normal of the coronavirus era by searching how to make hand sanitizer and face masks. And Google users researched virtual field trips and museum tours, as a way to break up the monotony of home schooling.

You can dive into an interactive presentation of all of Google’s 2020 search trends here, which gamifies just how weird this year has been.