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Google year in search

The Strangest Things We Googled in 2023


As 2023 draws to a close, it’s time we look back at the year that was. For some, the last 12 months have been fraught with cost of living challenges, rising rental prices and a stark shortage of Sriracha, but for others, 2023 has been a period of discovery. Thankfully, our good friends at Google have had our backs the whole time. The tech giant recently released its own version of Spotify Wrapped dubbed ‘Year in Search,’ highlighting what kept us glued to our phones and frantically searching all year long.

Google | Image: Solen Feyissa
Google | Image: Solen Feyissa

Google’s 2023 Year in Search list is based on top-trending searches in Australia, tracking what had the highest spikes in traffic compared to last year. This year also marks 25 years of Google Search, and to celebrate this “quarter-century of curiosity,” the company has kicked off its 25-year celebration with a special edition of Year in Search, highlighting the “most searched people, places, and things not just from the past year worldwide, but of all time.”

For this year’s Year in Search, the recent network-wide outage at Australia’s second-largest telco Optus, which left half the country without phone or internet for 12 hours, led news trends in 2023, per Google’s global data. This was followed by searches related to the war in Israel and Gaza and the Voice referendum results. Also, our insatiable, somewhat morbid curiosity about Andrew Tate reached unprecedented levels this year, as he somehow managed to snag the fourth spot in Google’s news trends.

Sam Kerr | Image: Instagram
Sam Kerr | Image: Instagram

As for the top trending Australian personalities on search this year, Sam Kerr reigned supreme, according to Google data. The Australian football star striker took everyone by storm in November, revealing her engagement to her partner and fellow professional player, Kristie Mewis.

Kerr was followed by another Aussie footballer, Mary Fowler, whose relationship with Nathan Cleary sparked controversy among teammates. If this year’s top trending personalities don’t give it away, we also clearly love watching soccer, as “How to watch Women’s World Cup” was the top-trending “How to…” search in 2023.

Oh, and apparently, we’re also keen on securing our privacy online. Searches for “How to lock Facebook profile” were hot on the heels of the World Cup, followed by “How to vote referendum.” While football stars dominated individual search trends, Cricket reigned supreme in this year’s top trending Aussie sports searches, with the Cricket World Cup taking the lead. It was followed by the Ashes and the Women’s World Cup.

Margot Robbie in 'Barbie' (2023) | Image: Warner Bros. Pictures
Margot Robbie in ‘Barbie’ (2023) | Image: Warner Bros. Pictures

2023 saw the passing of several notable figures, but none resonated quite as deeply as Matthew Perry. His unexpected passing led this year’s search trends for loss, alongside Jock Zonfrillo. Meanwhile, the entertainment world witnessed its own share of trends. Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece ‘Oppenheimer‘ dominated movie searches, securing its place as the most searched-for movie of the year. It was followed by Gerwig’s ‘Barbie and the critically acclaimed ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once‘ came in third.

The Coronation quiche, fit for a king (and queen!), ruled the recipe charts in 2023, proving tradition can still be trendy. The nostalgia-fueled Grimace Shake took the second spot and through the whirlwind of it all, Anzac biscuits, coming in as the fourth most searched recipe, reminded us that the simplest pleasures often win. This year, we even turned into DIY wizards, learning how to make everything from paper poppers to kinetic sand.

Top DIY searches on Google for 2023 | Image: Google
Top DIY searches on Google for 2023 | Image: Google

“How to make a paper popper” topped the DIY/how-to trends in 2023, followed by “How to make rosemary water for hair.” But it wasn’t all glitter and ice baths. While the world grappled with global issues, we also remained curious, with “why is Israel and Hamas at war?” topping the “why is…” searches. Closer to home, we Aussies wondered about the Optus outage and Twitter’s rebranding as X. Talk about a mind trip!

If you’re interested in finding more about what else filled our searches this year, here’s a look at Google’s 2023 Year in Search report for Australia:

News events

  1. Optus outage
  2. War in Israel and Gaza
  3. Referendum results
  4. Andrew Tate
  5. Earthquake Melbourne
  6. Submarine
  7. Turkey earthquake
  8. Chandrayaan-3
  9. Russell Brand
  10. NSW Election results

Aussies

  1. Sam Kerr
  2. Mary Fowler
  3. Michael Clarke
  4. Reece Walsh
  5. Dan Andrews
  6. Bianca Censori
  7. Tim Tszyu
  8. Kathleen Folbigg
  9. Ellie Carpenter
  10. Lidia Thorpe

Sport

  1. Cricket World Cup
  2. Ashes
  3. Women’s World Cup
  4. Jake Paul vs Tommy Fury
  5. BBL
  6. Champions League
  7. UFC 294
  8. FA Cup
  9. LIV Golf
  10. United Cup

Recipe(s)

  1. Coronation quiche recipe
  2. Grimace shake recipe
  3. Coronation chicken recipe
  4. CWA Anzac biscuit recipe
  5. Chicken Honolulu recipe
  6. Lamb stew recipe
  7. Pornstar Martini recipes
  8. Marry me chicken recipe
  9. Chicken and leek pie recipe
  10. Modak recipe

Entertainment

  1. Oppenheimer
  2. Barbie movie
  3. Taylor Swift tickets
  4. Connections
  5. Hogwarts Legacy
  6. The Last of Us
  7. Everything Everywhere All at Once
  8. Quordle
  9. John Wick 4
  10. Avatar

Loss

  1. Matthew Perry
  2. Jock Zonfrillo
  3. Sinead O’Connor
  4. Tina Turner
  5. Cal Wilson
  6. Ken Block
  7. Lisa Marie
  8. Barry Humphries
  9. Johnny Ruffo
  10. Angus Cloud

‘How to…?’

  1. How to watch Women’s World Cup
  2. How to lock Facebook profile
  3. How to vote referendum
  4. How to solve a Rubik’s Cube
  5. How to get rid of my AI on Snapchat
  6. How to get Snapchat AI
  7. How to vote early
  8. How to watch Rugby World Cup
  9. How to get Taylor Swift tickets
  10. How to watch The Ashes in Australia

DIY/’How to make…?’

  1. How to make a paper popper
  2. How to make rosemary water for hair
  3. How to make kinetic sand
  4. How to make slime without activator
  5. DIY Valentines gift for him
  6. DIY Easter basket
  7. DIY ice bath
  8. How to make a vision board
  9. How to make an invoice
  10. How to make a kite

‘Why is…?’

  1. Why is Israel and Hamas at war
  2. Why is Optus down
  3. Why is Twitter called X
  4. Why is Book Depository closing
  5. Why is Gwyneth Paltrow in court
  6. Why is my phone on SOS
  7. Why is the Gaza Strip important
  8. Why is Camilla being crowned Queen
  9. Why is Sam Kerr not playing today
  10. Why is Oppenheimer rated R

Meanings

  1. SNAFU meaning
  2. Ennui meaning
  3. Guano meaning
  4. Hamas meaning
  5. Ardour meaning
  6. Implosion meaning
  7. Craven meaning
  8. Credo meaning
  9. Pique meaning
  10. Locus meaning

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