Culture

From Covid To Zoom Dating, Google Reveals What We Were All Googling In 2020

Google searches have become a sort of cultural thermometer that tell us what people are interested in. Obviously, 2020 has been been unlike any ar that any of us have lived before. And the Google data reflects that, as it details not only our likes and dislikes but also our hopes and our fears.

Based on Google’s report on the Year in Search, we see just how difficult 2020 has been for so many of us. But we also see in the data a resilience and hope for the future.

Also, given that many top search spot are taken by Latino artists and musicians, it’s evident that Latino culture is alive and well, despite an onslaught of attacks on our community and culture. Here’s some of the top Google searches from a year that will go down in history as one of the craziest ever.

The Top Ten searches offer proof of just how intense 2020 really was.

The top ten searches in the U.S. this year reflect two of the biggest stories of 2020: the pandemic and the presidential election. The Google lists are based on the searches that had the highest spike this year as compared to the previous year, so they discount terms that are generally searched every year.

This tumultuous year has resulted in some pretty bleak top search results, with “stimulus checks” and “unemployment” among the top news stories, as well as “Australia fires” and “murder hornets,” on top of everything coronavirus-related.

The most searched term was “election results,” with “who is winning the election,” taking seventh place, perhaps reflecting how long it took for the official results to be announced.

The word “coronavirus” was understandably in second place, with “coronavirus update” and “coronavirus symptoms” taking fourth and fifth place, respectively, followed by “Zoom” in sixth place, in a year where we have had to connect virtually amid social-distancing and self-isolation.

Plenty of Latinos also took top search spots on Google, reflecting how we as a community are more important than ever.

In a year of catastrophic loss, one loss seems to have struck a major chord among all of us – the tragic loss of Naya Rivera. The former Glee star was the 8th most searched topic in all of 2020 as people looked for information on her untimely death.

And props to Shakira, who became the 7th most searched person in 2020, thanks in part to her history-making Super Bowl half time performance with Jennifer Lopez – which also saw J Balvin and Bad Bunny make an appearance.

Of course, the Coroanvirus pandemic greatly affected our Google searches this year.

The effect of the pandemic can be seen in a spike in searches for all things virtual, with the U.S. searching for virtual museum tours, virtual classroom, and even virtual marriage.

The pandemic and its subsequent stay-at-home orders have also influenced the most popular “how-to” searches of the year, from “how to cut men’s hair at home” to “how to make hand sanitizer.”

The growing Black Lives Matter movement also helped change Google’s search data in 2020.

From the murders of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd to Breonna Taylor and Elijah McClain, the police killings of unarmed Black Americans has many of us looking for answers and solutions.

Both George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery made the top ten most searched deaths in 2020, pointing to people’s interest in their stories.

But amid all the loss and pain of 2020, the hope and resilience also shines through.

There’s no denying that 2020 was one hell of a year. With so many people out of work, struggling to feed their families, in the hospitals battling for their lives, or simply trying to exist in the U.S. as a Black American, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

However, our Google searches also point to a strong sense of hope and resilience that should give all of us reason to celebrate the future. From vaccines for COVID-19 that were developed at a record-breaking speed to history-making searches for “how to help…,” it’s obvious that the human spirt and desire to keep moving forward is alive as it ever was.

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Mexico Plunges 23 Places On The World Happiness Report As The Country Struggles To Bounce Back

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Mexico Plunges 23 Places On The World Happiness Report As The Country Struggles To Bounce Back

Hector Vivas/Getty Images

When it comes to international happiness rankings, Mexico has long done well in many measurements. In fact, in 2019, Mexico placed number 23 beating out every other Latin American country except for Costa Rica. But in 2020, things looks a lot different as the country slipped 23 spots on the list. What does this mean for Mexico and its residents? 

Mexico slips 23 spots on the World Happiness Report thanks to a variety of compelling factors.

Mexico plummeted 23 places to the 46th happiest nation in the world, according to the 2020 happiness rankings in the latest edition of the United Nations’ World Happiness Report. The coronavirus pandemic had a significant impact on Mexicans’ happiness in 2020, the new report indicates.

“Covid-19 has shaken, taken, and reshaped lives everywhere,” the report noted, and that is especially true in Mexico, where almost 200,000 people have lost their lives to the disease and millions lost their jobs last year as the economy recorded its worst downturn since the Great Depression.

Based on results of the Gallup World Poll as well as an analysis of data related to the happiness impacts of Covid-19, Mexico’s score on the World Happiness Report index was 5.96, an 8% slump compared to its average score between 2017 and 2019 when its average ranking was 23rd.

The only nations that dropped more than Mexico – the worst country to be in during the pandemic, according to an analysis by the Bloomberg news agency – were El Salvador, the Philippines and Benin.

Mexico has struggled especially hard against the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Since the pandemic started, Mexico has fared far worse than many other countries across Latin America. Today, there are reports that Mexico has been undercounting and underreporting both the number of confirmed cases and the number of deaths. Given this reality, the country is 2nd worst in the world when it comes to number of suspected deaths, with more than 200,000 people dead. 

Could the happiness level have an impact on this year’s elections?

Given that Mexico’s decline in the rankings appears related to the severity of the coronavirus pandemic here, one might assume that the popularity of the federal government – which has been widely condemned for its management of the crisis from both a health and economic perspective – would take a hit.

But a poll published earlier this month found that 55.9% of respondents approved of President López Obrador’s management of the pandemic and 44% indicated that they would vote for the ruling Morena party if the election for federal deputies were held the day they were polled.

Support for Morena, which apparently got a shot in the arm from the national vaccination program even as it proceeded slowly, was more than four times higher than that for the two main opposition parties, the PAN and the PRI.

Still, Mexico’s slide in the happiness rankings could give López Obrador – who has claimed that ordinary Mexicans are happier with him in office – pause for thought.

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Google Is Pledging $250K To Help With DACA Applications And Renewals

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Google Is Pledging $250K To Help With DACA Applications And Renewals

SANDY HUFFAKER / AFP via Getty Images

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, is not a contentious topic among Americans. The program offers young adults who entered the U.S. as children relief from deportation and a chance to live out of the shadows. Now that it has been reinstated, Google wants to help some people achieve the dream of being a DACA recipient.

Google is pledging a quarter of a million dollars to help people apply for DACA.

The Trump administration did everything in their power to end DACA. The constant uncertainty has left hundreds of thousands of young people in limbo. The war waged against Dreamers by the Trump administration came to a temporary end when a federal judge ruled that Chad Wolf was illegally installed as the head of the Department of Homeland Security. It invalidated a member from Wolf stating that no new DACA applications would be approved.

Kent Walker, the SVP of Global Affairs, laid out the case for DACA in an essay.

Walker discusses the uncertainty the hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients currently face after the tumultuous time for the program. He also touches on the economic hardships that has befallen so many because of the pandemic. With so many people out of work, some Dreamers do not have the money to apply or renew their DACA due to a lack of financial resources. For that reason, Google is getting involved.

“We want to do our part, so Google.org is making a $250,000 grant to United We Dream to cover the DACA application fees of over 500 Dreamers,” writes Walker. “This grant builds on over $35 million in support that Google.org and Google employees have contributed over the years to support immigrants and refugees worldwide, including more than $1 million from Googlers and Google.org specifically supporting DACA and domestic immigration efforts through employee giving campaigns led by HOLA (Google’s Latino Employee Resource Group).”

People are celebrating Google for their decision but are calling on Congress to do more.

Congress will ultimately have to decide on what to do for the Dreamers. There has been growing pressure from both sides of the aisle calling on Congress to work towards granting them citizenship. DACA is a risk of being dismantled at any moment. It is up to Congress to come through and deliver a bill to fix the issue once and for all.

“We know this is only a temporary solution. We need legislation that not only protects Dreamers, but also delivers other much-needed reforms,” writes Walker. “We will support efforts by the new Congress and incoming Administration to pass comprehensive immigration reform that improves employment-based visa programs that enhance American competitiveness, gives greater assurance to immigrant workers and employers, and promotes better and more humane immigration processing and border security practices.”

READ: New DACA Applications Were Processed At The End Of 2020 For The First Time In Years

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