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Culture

THE YEAR WE GOOGLED IT

And asked why

11.12.2020

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For the 19th year in a row, Google has released its Year in Search short film, which charts the newsworthy moments of year, and the questions we asked to try and better understand them. This year, of course, it's taken on new meaning. The barrage of bad news has seen us furiously Google it, to make sense of what's happening and why. Why is the operative word here.

Why is toilet paper sold out? Why is mental health important? Why is it called COVID-19? "We asked why more than ever before," explains Simon Rogers, data editor at Google News Lab. “We searched for ways to help each other, like looking at how to support essential workers on the front lines of COVID-19 or how to aid people affected by the wildfires in Australia or devastation in Beirut”. The film features over 170 short clips and photos: a desolate Trocadero Square in Paris; a basketball arena without an audience; doctors embracing each other in PPE; wildfires in California and Australia; portraits of Ruth Bader Ginsberg and BLM protesters from all around the world.

The three-minute film is accompanied by a poem written and spoken by Ghanian-American poet Kofi Dadzie. It also, for the first time, features an original score. Called “Together”, the song was created by Grammy-winning producer Peter Cottontale, featuring Chance the Rapper, with backup vocals by Cynthia Erivo and the Chicago Children’s Choir.

The film runs alongside a top trending lists of 2020. Highlights for the most searched words include “Coronavirus”, “Kobe Bryant”, “Election results” and “Zoom”, while the most sought after recipes are dalgona coffee, sourdough bread and pizza. Which personality attracted the most attention in 2020? Unsurprisingly, US President-elect Joe Biden and his vice president-elect Kamala Harris.


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