Google top search trends 2020: Coronavirus and the US elections top the list

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With the coronavirus trending all year long, one could be forgiven for thinking nothing else happened in 2020 that wasn’t pandemic-related. However, as the Annual Year In Search 2020 report shows, many other things were entered into Google’s search engine. Users had questions and were interested in people, topics, places, artistes, and recipes, among other things.

Expectedly, the ‘coronavirus’ and the US elections were among the top searches. But the report also highlights searches for some topical issues – ‘insomnia’, ‘how to become a teacher’, and ‘how to become a nurse’ – that recorded all-time highs.

The year also saw some popular searches displaced by others. Meanwhile, certain search choices have replaced others; searches for the ‘mask emoji’ exceeded those for the hug emoji, while ‘how to learn coding’ topped the trending list of things people considered learning.

What Nigerians were curious about

Here is what defined the year in Nigeria under the ‘Questions’ category:

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  1. Who is the new president of the USA?
  2. When is school resuming?
  3. How to make hand sanitiser?
  4. Who is George Floyd?
  5. How to make a facemask?
  6. Who is Joe Biden?
  7. Who is Laycon?
  8. How to make a cake?
  9. Who is Aisha Yesufu?
  10. How to make bread?

‘Who is the new president of the USA?’ probably topped the ‘Questions’ category in Nigeria because Donald Trump refused to concede defeat to Joe Biden, who topped the most-searched ‘People’ list in a similar trend.

With many countries locked down for most of the year, Nigeria inclusive, educational facilities were closed down.

However, though parents resorted to home-schooling and online classes during the lockdown, expectations are high regarding schools reopening.

Google search analysis shows a spike in searches for resumption date in September when the academic session usually begins. This came on the back of the Nigerian Federal Government announcing the first phase of easing the lockdown.

Having ‘how to make a facemask’ and ‘how to make hand sanitiser’ on the list isn’t strange either as these commodities’ prices skyrocketed, necessitating DIY options.

Other search results on this list rightly featured people from trends in the year like the #BlackLivesMatter (George Floyd), #EndSARS movement (Aisha Yesufu) and #BBNaija Lockdown Edition (Laycon).

The sad moments

Google included a category listing the top ten search results for people that passed on during the year. On January 26, the world was shocked by the deaths of Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter in a helicopter crash.

In August, seven months after, Chadwick Boseman — Black Panther star — lost his battle with colon cancer.

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Nigerian reggae legend, Majek Fashek, also died mid-year at the age of 57 due to cancer.

The nation lost two famous politicians to COVID-19 — one-time Oyo State governor, Abiola Ajimobi; and former Chief of Staff to the president of Nigeria, Abba Kyari.

Other mentions include the sudden death of 39-year-old philanthropist, Ibidun Ighodalo; American rapper, King Von; ex-president of Ghana, Jerry Rawlings; and American actress, Naya Rivera.

Top searches

  1. Coronavirus
  2. US Election
  3. Joe Biden
  4. Google Classroom
  5. ASUU
  6. Zoom Live
  7. Rema
  8. Naira Marley
  9. Rahama Sadau
  10. Hushpuppi

The top searches reflect a predicted change in Internet culture: video conferencing.

Like 2019, ASUU made the list. Nigerian university lecturers have been on strike since February and are yet to reach a consensus with the government on when it will be called off.

Top people

  1. Joe Biden
  2. Rema
  3. Naira Marley
  4. Rahama Sadau
  5. Hushpuppi
  6. Laycon
  7. Kamala Harris
  8. Omah Lay
  9. Maryam Sanda
  10. Kai Havertz

Top Movies and TV shows

  1. Money Heist
  2. Big Brother Naija
  3. Miracle in Cell No. 7
  4. Ultimate Love
  5. Mulan
  6. The Old Guard
  7. 365 Days
  8. Citation
  9. Danger Force
  10. Extraction

Only one Nollywood movie — Citation — made the list having ranked sixth-most watched on Netflix soon after its release in November.

As has been the case for most years it aired, Big Brother Naija is on the list, but it dropped to number two after losing its top position from 2019 to Money Heist — Netflix’s Spanish drama series.

Top songs

  1. Fem – Davido
  2. Duduke – Simi
  3. Bad – Xxxtentacion
  4. Betty Butter – Mayorkun feat. Davido
  5. Ginger me – Rema
  6. Woman – Rema
  7. Wonderful – Burna Boy
  8. Abule – Patoranking
  9. Tesumole – Naira Marley
  10. Holy Ground – Davido feat. Nicki Minaj

With Olamide missing, other familiar mentions like Burna Boy, Davido, and Naira Marley retained their slots, while Rema made a debut.

For other categories and other data, visit Google’s Year in Search page.

Featured Image credit: Benjamin Dada on Unsplash


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