This is the (potentially depressing) 2020 that was, according to Google’s Year in Search


Google knows an awful lot about what the world is doing, thinking and feeling. It’s given us insights into matters as diverse as which of the newest consoles are the most popular or just how much we all battled to sleep during lockdown. And then there’s the company’s Year in Search.

Year in Search is Google’s annual recap of what the most popular searches were for every country on the planet, and the search giant has shared what South Africa has been up to in 2020. Besides staying at home. We all know that was thing.

Searching for a Year in Search

But South Africa’s most searched questions were really a reflection of this year’s COVID-19 lockdown, with applying to an unemployment grant, what time Uncle Cyril was on TV, or where to get beer during lockdown hitting a few nerves. This was just as apparent in SA’s recipe searches — Pizza dough, Banana bread, Pancakes, and doughnuts all made the list. We were all doing an awful lot of baking during lockdown.

Trending searches included Coronavirus, the US elections, Level 3 lockdown in SA (which is when we were finally allowed to go outside), load shedding and the cigarette ban in SA making Google’s top 10 there. And despite the lockdown, South Africans were keen on travelling far away from the country. Major travel searches including Mauritius, Hawaii, Bali, Singapore and Mars. Apparently a bunch of us don’t want to live on this planet any more.

SA’s top searches and questions for this year are listed below. To see everything else, from celebrities to sports to politicians, check out Google’s dedicated Year in Search page here.

South Africa’s top trending searchings for 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

South Africa’s top trending questions for 2020

  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?

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