LISTEN: Google’s annual search trends report looks at what people wanted to know about in 2022 versus last year. GPB’s Ellen Eldridge reports on how Georgia played a part. 

A hand types a search query on Google

In Google's annual report, the company takes a look at what people are searching for in 2022 that they weren't searching for in 2021: Search terms like "Wordle" and "Early voting places near me."

These are the words and phrases that had breakout moments in search engine queries, Google search trends expert Alex Joseph said.

"So Wordle had a breakout year this year," he said. "If you recall, it seemed like every single person in January and February was waking up every morning, going to Google, and typing in Wordle so they could play their daily word game."

The popular online word game, where you guess a five-letter word, went viral early in the year.

"It was created by a software engineer in Brooklyn for his partner," Joseph said. "He put it online and it went absolutely viral, and was later acquired by The New York Times."


After the morning word game, the news

Trending search results related to the war in Ukraine and the World Cup in Qatar show what people are interested in overseas.

But many search results are related to local issues, such as how to save money, he said.

"The other trending search that really speaks to the mood domestically is gas prices," Joseph said. "The No. 1 and 2 searches were for 'gas prices near me.'"

He noted the searches occur when people are looking for information in the form of answers to specific questions and what to find tools to use in daily life. 

And that brings up politics. Searches related to election results ranked high nationwide, and much of that interest focused on Georgia's midterm U.S. Senate race and runoff.

"Georgia is no stranger to searching for election results, whether it be primaries, general elections or runoffs," Joseph said. "And people were trying to figure out what was happening with this year's elections in the United States."


The people looking for solutions

Google's expert said many people use their search engine to find ways that they can help others.

"It was really encouraging to see a lot of people searching for how they can help the Ukraine," Joseph said. "And that was the No. 1 trending search for the 'how do you help' queries."

Joseph also said he feels optimistic knowing searches for "sustainability" trended this year.