2021 started with a sense of guarded optimism, with people emerging from a stormy year that was COVID-19. Where there was hope of things returning to normal, the year had its own challenges and was instead marked by life changes triggered by the pandemic, vaccines becoming top priority, and navigating the reality of lockdowns and re-openings. But after a year of ‘virtual everything’, in-person meetings are now gradually making their way into calendars. In this roller coaster year, staying flexible, agile, and resilient has never been more important.
We have been humbled at the many ways people turned to Google Search, to ask the questions that helped people steady themselves in 2021:
People across India continued to lean into their love of sports, where cricket continued to top the charts: the Indian Premier League and ICC T20 World Cup featured high up on the overall list of queries. Interest around football was center and forward, with the Euro Cup, and Copa America, while the magic of our sportspersons’ performance at the Tokyo Olympics proved to be a definitive high. The commencement of the world’s largest vaccination drive in the world saw searches for CoWIN and Covid Vaccine to trend massively as people seeked information around the vaccinations options and their availability. The lone gaming entry in the overall list is a telling indication of the massive popularity of the battle royale game Free Fire.
Neeraj Chopra arched to the apex of the personality list with his history-making performance at the Tokyo Olympics – Independent India’s first ever medal in athletics. He was followed by spiking interest in Aryan Khan in the later part of this year. Tesla founder and prolific social media personality Elon Musk’s popularity in India was apparent, along with page three celebrities such as Shehnaaz Gill, Raj Kundra and Vicky Kaushal.
‘Near me’ searches this year were especially evocative of the year that was, with searches on Covid Vaccine, Covid tests, Covid hospital, as well as oxygen cylinders and CT scans as people fought the tide of the pandemic over the course of the year. People also rode out the intermittent lockdowns by increasingly seeking food deliveries, tiffin services and takeout restaurants.
2021 saw strong interest in regional cinema, paving the way for Jai Bhim, a Tamil blockbuster, securing the top spot on the Movies list, followed by Bollywood blockbuster Shershaah. Radhe, and Bell Bottom were the other Hindi movies that surged on the trending charts. Highly anticipated Hollywood movies like Godzilla vs Kong and Eternals rounded up the list of the top trending movies of this year.
Queries in the Recipes category proved to be a buffet of terms, with Enoki Mushrooms topping the trend cake. It was an intriguing spectrum of culinary-spanning interests, from the racy Porn Star Martini to an all-time favorite, Lasagna. There was a hankering for something sweet with searches for Modak and Cookies, along with homely staples like ‘Methi Matar Malai’ and ‘Palak’. And let’s not forget Kada, the hot favorite immunity-boosting home remedy.
While News around Covid-19 continued to take the spotlight, there continued to be interest around key global events and topics such as the Tokyo Olympics, Black Fungus, Afghanistan, and the West Bengal elections. People actively searched for important and relevant information with queries like how to register for Covid vaccine, how to download vaccine certification, and how to increase oxygen level being the top three three ‘How to’ searches this year. In ‘What is’ searches, people seeked to learn more with queries ranging from what is Black Fungus, what is Taliban, what is remdesivir, and even the evidently academic what is the factorial of hundred?