January 16, 2021

From Covid to Binod: Your top searches on Google this year

With the deadly Covid-19 infection bringing life to a grinding halt across the world, it is hardly surprising that the pandemic was one of the most searched subjects on Google this year.

Google India has released its annual ‘Year in Search’ results, highlighting all of the standout moments across news, sports, entertainment, and beyond. From fairly practical to downright absurd, the most popular searches on Google offer a pretty accurate snapshot of 2020 — a year unlike any other.

With the deadly Covid-19 infection bringing life to a grinding halt across the world, it is hardly surprising that the pandemic was one of the most searched subjects on Google this year. The top searches listed in Google’s annual report reflect how home-bound Indians relied heavily on the search engine to grapple with the threat posed by the pandemic as well as lockdown-induced boredom.

Worried users turned to the search engine to clear some of their doubts about the infection and also to find ways to combat it. ‘How to increase immunity?’ and ‘Covid test near me’ were among some of the searches that figured high on Google’s list. In the midst of the nationwide lockdown, local searches surged with ‘Near me’ queries as thousands of people started working from home. ‘Broadband connection near me’ and ‘Laptop shop near me’ were some of the most common searches.

But despite a rather bleak year, the excitement around the Indian Premier League (IPL) did not seem to wane. In fact, the IPL was the top trending search of the year, according to Google India statistics.

Some of the most bizarre search terms were the ‘How to’ and ‘What is’ queries. Thousands of users asked ‘What is Binod?’ — in reference to a comment on a YouTube video that grew to become a viral meme in the country earlier this year.

Elections that took place both in India and abroad also triggered significant search activity. The United States elections, as well as the Bihar and Delhi polls occupied the third, fifth and sixth positions on the top 10 list of overall popular search results. And US President-elect Joe Biden was the most searched personality on Google this year.

Republic TV news anchor Arnab Goswami, who was arrested in connection with a 2018 suicide case, was the second on the list of popular personalities. Bollywood actors Rhea Chakraborty, Ankita Lokhande, Kangana Ranaut and Amitabh Bachchan also featured on the list.

Late actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s last film ‘Dil Bechara’ emerged as the top trending movie of 2020, followed by Tamil action-drama ‘Soorarai Pottru’. 2020 was a year of biopics, and several of these films — including ‘Tanhaji’, ‘Shakuntala Devi’ and ‘Gunjan Saxena’ captured the top five spots. The only Hollywood film to make it to the list was Chris Hemsworth starrer ‘Extraction’.

Last year, ‘Lok Sabha election results’ was the most searched news term in India, closely followed by ‘Chandrayaan 2’. Incidentally, the two lost out to ‘Cricket World Cup’ in the overall list of popular search terms.

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