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Google searches in the bizarre year that was 2020

What has hot and trending

Meander Chronicle Reporter

Each year Google publishes its lists of the top items searched overall and in various categories, and every year there are some obvious winners and some big surprises. And then there are the just plain weird searches tapped in by keyboard warriors. Google kindly breaks this down further so that search results are available by region and country. It makes for fascinating reading.

The search giant recently published its annual “Year in Search” findings, in which it revealed the top trending search terms in SA.

Pineapple beer was one hot commodity in 2020.

It’s hardly a surprise that in 2020 “coronavirus” was the top search term for South Africans. Recipes for pineapple beer also featured highly, thanks to government’s controversial booze ban during the hard lockdown in April and May.

Brewing their own

The ban had many folks brewing their own, rolling their own and supported a vibrant bootlegging culture that sprang up and mushroomed for a few months. (Here’s hoping we are not about to go down that road again).

Here are the top 10 trending searches in SA, according to Techcentral:

Top 10 trending searches in SA, 2020:
1. Coronavirus
2. US elections update
3. Sasol share price
4. Level-3 lockdown South Africa
5. Children’s Day
6. Hantavirus
7. Load shedding
8. Cigarettes ban South Africa
9. Teacher’s Day
10. Leap Day

And now for some words that spoke volumes about 2020

With Donald Trump in the thick of the action, the US election were bound to be a hot topic.

The top questions asked of the search engine were:
1. How to apply for an unemployment grant?
2. Who won the election?
3. What time is the president on tonight?
4. What is coronavirus?
5. What is 5G?
6. Where does vanilla flavouring come from?
7. Why were cornflakes invented?
8. Where to buy beer during lockdown?
9. Why were chainsaws invented?
10. How to make hand sanitiser?

President Cyril Ramaphosa had a few interesting moments with face masks.

And for those who enjoy their food and drinks, here are the most popular searches of 2020 in this category (how the heck is “doughnut recipe” more popular than “pineapple beer recipe”?):

1. Pizza dough recipe
2. Doughnut recipe
3. Pineapple beer recipe
4. Banana loaf recipe
5. Pancakes recipe
6. Magwinya recipe
7. Lemon meringue recipe
8. Cinnabon recipe
9. Naan bread recipe
10. Pornstar martini recipe

TimesLIVE hit upon one of the more bizarre search questions you are likely to see trending, in any year.

One of the top trending questions asked by South Africans in 2020 (no 6) was, “Where does vanilla flavouring come from?” it wrote, referring to the Google’s Year in Search report. The question was a bit offbeat, but the answers dug up made this one truly interesting.

It said the question was sparked by a TikTok video in which viewers were challenged to record themselves before and after Googling “where does vanilla flavouring come from?”

How the heck did beavers become involved with a search about vanilla flavouring?

“We decided to do a quick search of our own and were shocked by the explanation offered by an article on National Geographic. It stated that vanilla flavouring could come from a substance called castoreum — a chemical compound derived from the anal excretions of beavers.” Grossville.

Weird hey, but there’s a lot more to this story than meets the eye. Click on the link here for the full lowdown.

Kobe Bryant’s death rocked the sports world.

So what was trending in 2020, other than coronavirus, that was obviously top of the pops (globally) in search and news? Election results, Kobe Bryant, Zoom and IPL featured in the top 5 searches, while elections results, Iran, Beirut and Hantavirus rocked the news trends.

The list of top 5 people searched in an altogether weird year were:
Joe Biden
Kim Jong Un
Boris Johnson
Kamala Harris
Tom Hanks

SA celeb Lerato Kganyago. Picture: Lerato Kganyago Instagram

South Africa’s trending personalities were:
Katlego Maboe
Nikita Murray
Edwin Sodi
Lerato Kganyago
Menzi Ngubane

More SA celeb news here

Let’s pray fervently that 2021 is a little quieter, a whole lot less chaotic and kinder to many of our countrymen and women, and people all around the world.

The Meander Chronicle is also hoping that issues such as climate change, the universal right to literacy and a quality education, access to basic services and equality – which may have slipped on to the backburner in the face of the Covid crisis – get the due attention they deserve and urgently require.


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