What Questions Were People Asking in 2019?

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Each year Google puts together lists of the most popular search terms, which it releases on the Google Trends site.  Here are some of the top questions people were asking this year.  Beside each search term is a note on whether it’s a who/what/where/why/how question and the ranking within the top five searches for that type of question.  My comments are in italics.


How #5: “How to pronounce psalm”

I suspect that people aren’t getting religious all of a sudden, and this has everything to do with Kim Kardashian and Kanye West naming their son Psalm.  And normally I try not to comment on ugly babies, but that is one weird-looking kid.

Why #1: “Why is Madonna wearing an eye patch at Eurovision”

Perhaps she wants to be a pirate?  But also, why on earth are so many Aussies watching Eurovision?


Why #3: “Why is blackface offensive”

This I find interesting because it suggests I was correct in a post I wrote about blackface saying that Canadians don’t have the same awareness of the problematic history of blackface that Americans do.  The issue was in the Canadian news this year when a decades-old photo surfaced of the prime minister dressed up for Halloween and wearing blackface.

Who #1: “Who should I vote for”

That’s placing a lot of trust in Google!

How #2: “How old is Dolly Parton”

I don’t have the slightest clue why so many people would be asking this.


How #1: “How to boil an egg”

It’s reasonable that some people might need to look this up, but it’s the number 1 question?  Why are they eating so many eggs?  And why does no one seem to retain that information for the next time they make an egg?

What #3: “What is a dead ting”

Dead thing said by someone who can’t pronounce th?  Turns out someone said this on the reality show Love Island.  I guess a whole lot of people in Ireland watch Love Island!


How #2: “How to start a blog”

How cool!

What #1: “What is xenophobia”

This fascinates me.  Why are they talking about this in Nigeria?  Is theirs one of the “shithole” countries that the great pumpkin doesn’t want to let people in from?  Is this causing problems for wealthy Nigerian princes who are persistently trying to obtain your assistance in moving some money around?

South Africa

Question #1: “Why were cornflakes invented”

WTF?  So I plugged this question into Google, and it turns out that there are some interesting rumours circulating around this topic.  Take this tidbit that was in a story from News Corp Australia:

“Mr Kellogg, the man who created Corn Flakes, produced the cereal in the late 19th century and marketed it as a “healthy, ready-to-eat anti-masturbatory morning meal”.  He was a Seventh-day Adventist and worked as a physician who staunchly believed in celibacy and that sex was unhealthy and immoral.”

As a daily Corn Flakes eater myself, I can say with certainty that it would be rather difficult to masturbate while eating a bowl of Corn Flakes, but that’s about the extent of its anti-masturbatory powers.


How #3: “How to floss dance”

You can look this up for yourself if you’re so inclined, and then wish you could get those couple minutes of your life back.

What #2: “What is the backstop”

With all the gong show-ness going on in the UK, apparently what was on everyone’s mind had to do with preventing border controls between Ireland and Northern Ireland.


What #2: “What is a VSCO girl”

Clearly I’m too old to know what this is.  Urban Dictionary seems like a good place to go to find out what the cool kids these days are talking about.  According to the top definition on Urban Dictionary, a VSCO girl: “Wears oversized t-shirts or sweatshirt with Nike shorts. Has Vans, Crocs, Birks, and wears a shell necklace. She also wears tube tops and Jean shorts. She always has a hydroflask. She can’t leave home without a scrunchie and her favorite car is a jeep.”  Apparently, VSCO is a photo-editing app.  That part may be new, but the rest of it sounds an awful lot like the 90’s to me.  Not that these kids were born then.

Where #1: “Where is Sri Lanka”

Why on earth do so many Americans care where Sri Lanka is?  And what made them think of Sri Lanka in the first place?

What #1 (Spanish): “Qué es poligamia” aka “What is polygamy”

Come on people, has nobody been watching Sister Wives on TLC for the last 15 years?


Want to know more?  Check out Google’s Year In Search 2019 – there’s even a short film.

Are you surprised by the questions people were asking this past year?



31 thoughts on “What Questions Were People Asking in 2019?”

  1. As an Irish person, I’d like to inform you that I know how to boil an egg. In fact it’s one of the first things I ever learned to cook. And while I certainly don’t watch Love Island, I’m sad to say a lot of Irish people do lol!

  2. I don’t know much about Nigeria, but I think there is an ethnic division that also plays out as a Christian/Muslim divide (including the Boko Haram insurgency), so maybe that has something to do with it.

    I thought corn flakes were more about avoiding constipation than avoiding anything else, although still part of a late nineteenth century obsession with healthy eating and behaviour.

    I can understand people googling the Brexit Backstop, because the media was talking about it constantly, while only explaining what it would involve in very general terms.

  3. Ha, I used VSCO for about 15 minutes so I knew what that one was. It’s what all the high school girls who pretend they’re photographers use instead of Instagram.

  4. Madonna was awful at Eurovision! Really really really bad. I googled it myself to hear what the rumors were about. The eyepatch, I don’t know much about that. As for cornflakes, I didn’t read the anti- and was suddenly more in favor of Mr Keloggs until I realised my mistake.

  5. I have never watched live island to get that question. That is interesting. I thought corn flakes was a kids cereal. Boiled eggs must not have been popular in Ireland until now. I don’t understand the VSCO trend or where it came from. I first found out about it on YouTube

  6. Whoa. I was spacing out a little (I haven’t taken my morning meds yet for some reason), and then I read about Corn Flakes, and I was like, “What the freak?!” And I did a double-take. You know, I think I’ll go buy some Corn Flakes and eat them right now.

  7. “And normally I try not to comment on ugly babies, but that is one weird-looking kid.” Too funny! 😂😂

    Google auto-fill/suggest is usually way off for me but sometimes I go with it just to see where it takes me. 😏

  8. Oddly, I can probably shed some light on the Sri Lanka thing. It has suddenly started showing up on all those “where you should travel in the next year” lists. Suddenly I know a bunch of people who want to go there. I guess everybody else just wants to know why bother? I’d laugh, but if it suddenly becomes cheap…yeah, sure, why not. I will follow the herd of ticket prices are right! And maybe become a VSCO girl, because an oversized sweatshirt with shorts sounds like super comfy dysautonomia code for “I can’t decide if I’m more hot or cold, so let me split the difference.” Also, I probably still have a few shell necklaces I randomly acquired at one point back when everyone was asking where various Central American countries are…

    1. VSCO power! Lol

      And that’s rather random about Sri Lanka. And I guess it would get rather crowded if a bunch of Western doofus tourists were trying to cram in there all at once!

      1. Yup. See also: “The Iceland Effect.” (But at least when we jumped on that bandwagon the north of the country in the middle of December was still effectively deserted. It was lovely…but probably not anymore even this time of year ;-))

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