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Google Releases Its ‘Most Searched’ for List 2023

What did we Google this year? Google has released their most searched-for terms of 2023. Would you have guessed these?

Google most searched for terms 2023
Image: Castleski/Shutterstock

Since 2004, Google has released their top search terms of the year, known as the ‘Year in Search,’ every December. The website lets you split the data by country so you can compare your habits against those of other nations.

This year marks 25 years since Google’s launch, so they have released a video pairing famous historical moments with their ‘most searched’ categories. This included Beyoncé’s Superbowl set for performance, Taylor Swift for songwriter, and more serious categories such as the Tribute in Light Twin Towers projection as the most searched ‘moment of silence.’

But for this year, first off, let’s dive into the news stats.

Top news stories

The top news story globally, as well as in the US, was war in Israel and Gaza, followed by one we might have forgotten about from way back in June: the Titanic submarine that went missing in the middle of the Atlantic.

Titan submarine in sea
Titan submarine like the one that went missing. Credit: Shutterstock/ Amnat Phomuang

The next three spots were all occupied by natural disasters: three hurricanes for the US, while globally, the earthquake in Turkey took the third spot.

Most searched-for people

Now the news has been dealt with, we can move on to the fun stuff: who did people Google in 2023? Unsurprisingly, the most googled athlete both globally and in the US was NFL star Damar Hamlin, whose cardiac arrest while playing at The Bills Stadium, Ohio, shocked the sports community worldwide. In October, he returned to the field after making a full recovery.

Following on from Hamlin, we have another celebrity who was in the news after a near-fatal injury: the Marvel actor Jeremy Renner, who was crushed by a snowplow on New Year’s Day. Renner was not as lucky as Hamlin, and almost a year on is still suffering from his injuries.

Jeremy Renner at the Los Angeles premiere of 'Tag' held at the Regency Village Theatre in Westwood, USA
Jeremy Renner at the LA premiere of ‘Tag’ at the Regency Village Theatre in Westwood, USA. Credit: Shutterstock/ Tinseltown

Third on the list is the misogynistic influencer Andrew Tate, with Taylor Swift’s new boyfriend, Travis Kelce, taking up fifth place after French footballer Kylian Mbappé.

As always, the celebrities we lost in 2023 also got their fair share of searches, with Friends actor Matthew Perry in the top spot, followed by musicians Tina Turner and Sinéad O’Connor.

Films, TV and music

Image: Adryan Samuel Hutagalung/Shutterstock

It won’t come as a shock to anyone that Barbenheimer took the top two spots for films this year. Following the general trend of global stats reflecting those in the US, Barbie came out on top in both these lists, while Oppenheimer triumphed in the UK and France.

The UK also favored the BBC’s Happy Valley for the TV show stats, beating the global leader HBO’s The Last of US. Netflix’s Wednesday, which came out in November 2022, still claimed second place globally, above Ginny and Georgia, whose second season was released in January. Wednesday’s star Jenna Ortega was also the second most searched-for actor globally, reflecting her show’s success.

TV screen playing Wednesday trailer or movie. TV with remote control, popcorn boxes and home plant.
Jenna Ortega on Wednesday. Credit: Shutterstock/ Hamara

When it comes to music, the top song globally was ‘Idol’ ((アイドル)” by Japanese duo Yoasobi. Although Yoasobi had already gained popularity with their song ‘Racing Into the Night,’ the use of Idols in the anime Oshi no Ko skyrocketed their journey to global fame. The song reached number one on Apple Music’s Global Chart in June and topped Billboard’s Global Chart, excluding the United States. 

The next top song is known for the controversy it caused rather than its popularity. Country singer Jason Aldean’s ‘Try That In A Small Town,’ which he claims is about the divide between rural communities and those in cities, was widely felt to evoke racial violence and lynchings, especially after the video dropped.

What didn’t we know in 2023?

Finally, let’s take a look at the trends Google doesn’t publicize but which you can discover with a little digging on its most-searched page. When you ask Google to analyze the search term ‘what is,’ the top two’ rising’ trends are the phrases ‘what is ChatGPT’ or its variation ‘ChatGPT.’ The AI tool launched in November 2022, meaning many people went into 2023 still not having heard of it. Taking third place after these reflects the last few months: ‘What is Hamas.’

Written By

I'm in my final year at the University of Oxford, studying English. I'm interested in all kinds of writing, from theatre reviewing to covering current affairs, with a particular focus on Gen Z's engagement with politics and popular culture.

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