Share article:
Share article:

A year inside: What did we Google in 2020?

Sandra Kim, winner of The Masked Singer. © VTM

The past year has been one of the worst in recent history, and when times are hard, we turn to the internet. And when we did, what were we looking for?

Well, when it comes to search, there’s really only Google, and Google keeps track of every search operation carried out, across the globe, and compiles them into Google Trends.

In global trends, the most common search term, unsurprisingly, was coronavirus, followed by election results (not specified), Kobe Bryant, Zoom and IPL, which is the Indian Premier League.

In the category People, Joe Biden narrowly beat Kim Jong Un, who narrowly beat Boris Johnson, while Big Brother Brasil was the second most-searched TV programme after Tiger King.

Focusing in on Belgium, and search behaviour is quite different.

The top Belgian personality was Sean Dhondt, a Flemish TV presenter and singer, followed by Delphine Lecompte, a Flemish poet who became a BV in 2020 (a bekende Vlaming, or well-known Flemish person) thanks to her appearances on the TV quiz for BVs, De Slimste Mens.

You have to travel down to number three to find a French-speaking personality in the person of Sandra Kim, who won Eurovision in 1986 when she was only 13. Kim made a comeback of sorts when she won the Masked Singer TV competition in November.

Politicians who dominated Google search in 2020 were almost entirely predictable: prime ministers Sophie Wilmès and Alexander De Croo and health ministers Maggie De Block and Frank Vandenbroucke.

And then Petra De Sutter, in first place no less, who made the rankings for being the first transgender minister in a Belgian government – a fact that made international news.

Given that many people were confined at home for long periods, you’d expect the How-To section of search to offer a variety of activities.

Not so much. In first place, how to make a mask. 2. How to delete an Instagram account. 3. How to delete a Facebook account.

Those are followed by how to know if you have coronavirus; how to lose weight; how to make a selfie with Dorian Rossini (a French singer); how to make bread; how to put on a face mask; how to purge a radiator; and how to calculate your BMI.

Interesting footnote: the top five How-To searches of the antediluvian year of 2019 were hardly any different: How to vote in the European elections, lose weight, delete an Instagram account, lose belly fat and purge a radiator.

Some things never change.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Will Brussels bounce back?
The lockdowns have tested the city and forced it to confront key questions about its future. Derek Blyth looks back at an extraordinary moment in our ...
Huge cannabis farm discovered inside closed down Chinese restaurant near Charleroi
A cannabis plantation with several hundred mature plants was dismantled on Friday evening in a former Chinese restaurant on Chaussée de Bruxelles ...
Citizen founded wind turbine project launched in Liège region
A citizen founded wind turbine project was inaugurated in the Liège Region on Saturday by Walloon Energy Minister Philippe Henry (Ecolo) together ...
Belgium to invest in sustainable heating in 2022
The federal government will set aside about one million euros in its 2022 budget for a social tariff for sustainable heating, Federal Energy Minister ...
Anti-vaxxers demonstrate against Covid Safe Ticket in Brussels
Hundreds of supporters of the anti-vaxx movement gathered on Saturday outside the headquarters of the Pfizer pharmaceutical company to protest ...
Belgium’s investment funds total 260 billion euros in assets
Belgium’s funds industry grew by 5.3% (13 billion euros) in the second quarter of this year, bringing investment funds available to the public to ...
Brussels to Luxembourg by train in two hours soon possible
The fastest train ride between Brussels and Luxembourg currently takes almost three hours, but that could be slashed to about two hours thanks to the ...
Daily Covid infections up by almost 30% in Belgium
Between 6 and 12 October, an average of 2,438 people were infected with the Covid-19 virus every day, according to figures from the Sciensano public ...
Over 80,000 companies in Belgium non-compliant with anti-money laundering meassures
Over 80,000 companies and non-profits in Belgium are still not compliant with the Ultimate Business Owner (UBO) register, which is required of them ...
Increase in tax exemption for donations in Belgium fails to meet expectations
The increase from 45% to 60% in the tax exemption for donations, decided by the former federal government in June 2020, has cost Belgium more than ...
Sex workers in Belgium to get more social rights protection
The social rights of sex workers will soon be better protected in Belgium, Belga News Agency reports. The Council of Ministers has approved a draft ...
Belgian firms sent almost 266 billion euros to tax havens last year
Hundreds of Belgian firms sent close to 266 billion euros to tax havens last year, De Tijd reported on Saturday. Any Belgian individual or firm ...