If you turned to Google these past few months to make sense of the Israel-Hamas war, you aren’t alone.
The tech giant released its 2023 Year in Search on Monday, and the data indicates that people around the world sought out information around Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel and Israel’s ensuing military campaign in Gaza.
“War in Israel and Gaza” topped this year’s list of news trends in the US and globally, while “what is Hamas,” “what is happening in Israel,” and “why did Hamas attack” were among the year’s top US search queries beginning with “what is” or “why.”
The Titan subersible that imploded on a voyage to see the wreckage of the Titanic and prompted a massive, international search was the next top global news trend after the war, followed by the devastating Turkey – Syria earthquake in February that killed more than 50,000 people.
Google’s annual Year in Search roundup is a snapshot of the people and phenomena that piqued people’s curiosities and captivated their attention — the lists identify search inquiries that saw high traffic spikes over a sustained period relative to the previous year. In addition to major news events such as the war, Darmar-Hamlin’s cardia arrest during an NFL game, the death of Friends star Matthew Perry and Berbenheimmer were some of the other stories that had people talking in 2023, according to the data.
Hamlin, the Buffalo Bills safety whose devastating injury in January reignited a debate about safety in the NFL, topped Google’s list of trending people and athletes. Other names that dominated search trends this year include, respectively: Actor Jerey Renner, who suffered a near-fatal accident at the beginning of the year; misogynistic influencer Andrew Tate; French soccer player Kylian Mbappe and Kansas City Chiefs football player Travis Kelce, who has consistently made headlines since his romance with Taylor Swift became public.
Google’s list also highlighted some of the people we lost this year, as people mourned the deaths of Perry, Tina Turner and Sinead O’Connor.
“Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” were the year’s top trending movies, followed by Bollywood blockbuster “Jawan,” crime thriller “Sound of Freedom” and “John Wick: Chapter 4.” HBO’s post-apocalyptic drama “The Last of Us,” as well as Netflix’s “Wednesday” and “Ginny and Georgia,” topped the list of trending TV shows. Meanwhile, Japanese duo Yoasobi’s track “Idol (アイドル)” and Jason Aldean’s controversial “Try That in a Small Town” led search inquiries for songs.
This year’s search trends also revealed shifts in language and the ways we communicate. “Rizz” the 2023 Oxford word of year that essentially refers to a person’s “charisma,” was the top search inquiry for slang definitions — a category that also included “it’s giving,” “cringe” and “no printer.”