Google’s “Year in Search” lists track the most popular search terms in the past 12 months. CFP
You may not realize it when you type things on search engines.
But when everything that everyone has ever searched for is pieced together, they form a big picture that says a lot about us.
This is why Google releases its “Year in Search” lists every year.
The lists help us understand the past 12 months by tracking the most popular search terms – such as 2016’s “Pokemon Go” and last year’s “fidget spinner”.
The search terms also reflect people’s anxiety and fear – from 2016’s “Brexit” to last year’s “Las Vegas shooting”.
这些搜索词同时也反映出了人们的焦虑和恐惧 —— 从2016年的“英国退欧”到去年的“拉斯维加斯枪击案”。
But something is different about 2017’s list, which was released last month: More people than ever are asking Google “how” questions, an increase of 150 percent compared to 10 years ago.
Google actually made a video illustrating the ways that the word “how” helps to sum up our world in 2017.
There are questions like “How far can North Korean missiles go?”, which became a popular search after the country carried out several missile tests this year.
There was also “How much does the wall cost?”, which refers to US President Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall on the US-Mexico border to keep out illegal immigrants.
But the more important questions are the ones that not only try to discover, but also try to find help. These include questions such as “How to calm a dog during a storm?”, “How to help Las Vegas?” and “How to help refugees?”
“People aren’t only using Google Search to find information about the topics that matter to them. They’re also increasingly searching for ways to take action and find out how to do things – including how to donate or volunteer in moments of crisis,” Hannah Glenny, a Google Search trends expert told the BBC.
It may be true that 2017 has been an eventful year, and fear has been the driving force behind many of our searches.
But Google’s video managed to end with an optimistic tone. It concludes with two final questions: “How to be fearless?” and “How to move forward?”