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Since launching in 1998, Google has become one of the internet’s greatest success stories. Roughly 1.7 billion people use Google’s search engine every day. It is the most visited website in the world and is used everywhere from the US to French Polynesia.
Around 20 percent of the questions posed to the search engine have never been asked before and, according to a recent study, Americans trust Google more than the US government, the news media and the police.
The technology company has had such an impact that Scott Galloway, a professor of marketing at the New York University Stern School of Business, likened Google to a modern-day god in his book “The Four.”
With over 63,000 Google searches per second, the company has close to a monopoly over the internet search market. Roughly 92 percent of all online searches use Google.
Bing, Google’s closest competitor, has a market share of about 2 percent. Among the other services the technology firm offers, like Google Earth — which covers nearly 98 percent of our planet’s surface — and Google Maps — which recently surpassed 1 billion monthly users — Google provides access to a “largely unfiltered sample of actual search requests” through Google Trends.
This service allows Google to display interest in a particular topic, on both a regional and a global level. While reflecting the search interest in specific issues, Google notes that “a spike in a particular topic does not reflect that a topic is somehow popular.” Instead, it shows that “for some unspecified reason, there appear to be many users performing a search about a topic."
Even though Google says Google Trends is not scientific polling data, it is a useful tool to see what people are searching.
The service shows that in the US this month, the two topics being explored more than any other are the Democratic primaries and the coronavirus outbreak.
There were over 10 million queries regarding the results of Super Tuesday, the US primaries that took place on March 3. The phrases, “primary election,” “primary results” and “election results” had over 3 million searches combined. The Alabama primary received the most searches, with 1.5 million.
Users searched for topics relating to Joe Biden, who won 10 of the 14 states on Super Tuesday, more than 10 million times. Both Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg, who suspended their campaigns in early March, received over 2 million searches.
But US users weren’t only interested in the Democratic primaries. One million people searched for Chris Matthews, the MSNBC political anchor who was reportedly forced to step down on March 2.
Over 500,000 searched for information about Tulsi Gabbard, a US Representative for Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district, and her US$50 million lawsuit against Google. And 100,000 people searched for information about Bill Clinton after he recently spoke about the reason for his affair with Monica Lewinsky.
The most common questions about the Democratic primaries searched on Google this month include “how many Democratic candidates are left?”, “who is leading the Democratic primary?” and “how many delegates are in Super Tuesday?”
Alongside the Democratic race for president, Google Trends shows that US users are searching about the current coronavirus, also known as Covid-19. People wanted to know “what is the coronavirus?” and “how many people have died from coronavirus?”
In Washington State, where 11 people have died after contracting the virus, Google ranks search interest about the coronavirus at 100. Other states with high search interest in the virus include Oregon, New York and Colorado.
On March 2, Americans searched “Coronavirus USA” over half a million times. On the same day, searches relating to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention received the same number of queries.
With a reported shortage of Covid-19 test kits, Americans also turned to Google for ways to protect themselves. A trending search on March 2 was “how to make hand sanitizer.”
Users are also asking Google for answers about the virus. Frequent searches include “how to prepare for the coronavirus,” “how did the coronavirus get started” and “how is coronavirus spread?”
Other top searches
A lot of Americans also spent time searching for information about celebrities. There were over 2 million searches related to Katy Perry after she announced she was pregnant. Post Malone, Demi Levato and Nicki Minaj all had searches numbering in the hundreds of thousands in March. And, reflecting the increasing popularity of English soccer in the US, the March 4 match between Chelsea and Liverpool, two of England’s biggest teams, had 200,000 US searches.
There is also an increasing number of searches for International Women’s Day, which takes place on March 8. The top searches on the celebration of women’s economic, political and cultural achievements are, “when is International Women’s Day?”, “what is International Women’s Day?” and “how to celebrate International Women’s Day?”
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