How COVID-19 has changed what we search for online

google 2020

(Benjamin Dada, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Emma Charlton, Senior Writer, Formative Content


  • ‘Can children pass on coronavirus?’ searches spiked around the world on 12 May.
  • Meanwhile, searches for quarantine hobbies in the United States rose by 400%.
  • Employment support was widely searched for.

What are we searching for online as many of us live under lockdown restrictions to avoid COVID-19?

Google Trends offers insights into what people in different countries are thinking and searching for in the midst of the pandemic.

What is the World Economic Forum doing about the coronavirus outbreak?

A new strain of Coronavirus, COVID 19, is spreading around the world, causing deaths and major disruption to the global economy.

Responding to this crisis requires global cooperation among governments, international organizations and the business community, which is at the centre of the World Economic Forum’s mission as the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.

The Forum has created the COVID Action Platform, a global platform to convene the business community for collective action, protect people’s livelihoods and facilitate business continuity, and mobilize support for the COVID-19 response. The platform is created with the support of the World Health Organization and is open to all businesses and industry groups, as well as other stakeholders, aiming to integrate and inform joint action.

As an organization, the Forum has a track record of supporting efforts to contain epidemics. In 2017, at our Annual Meeting, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) was launched – bringing together experts from government, business, health, academia and civil society to accelerate the development of vaccines. CEPI is currently supporting the race to develop a vaccine against this strand of the coronavirus.

Around the world, searches relating to whether children can pass on coronavirus spiked on 12 May, while those about good hobbies to take up during quarantine soared 400% in the United States.

coronavirus internet search engine google employment job hobbies leisure pastime entertainment media tv video drinks covid19 health questions queries
What people were searching for on 12 May.
Image: Google Trends

Coronavirus is a huge search topic, eclipsing many others, the data shows.

And while the global languages of search may differ, many of the concerns are similar. Google’s EMEA director of insights Lucy Sinclair outlined some of these, including how financial security has remained top of people’s minds. There are increased searches for ‘unemployment benefit’ (‘prestación por desempleo’) in Spain, ‘furlough claim’ in the United Kingdom, ‘unemployment grant’ in South Africa and ‘job centre’ (‘urząd pracy’) in Poland.

coronavirus internet search engine google employment job hobbies leisure pastime entertainment media tv video drinks covid19 health questions queries
Searches for ‘coronavirus’ increased by 100% on the 12 March.
Image: Google Trends

It’s not all serious stuff. Rising ‘how to’ queries in the UK include how to make the cocktail Pimm’s, how to make a face mask out of a sock and how to fold a cereal box.

coronavirus internet search engine google employment job hobbies leisure pastime entertainment media tv video drinks covid19 health questions queries
Face masks are a common search for the British.
Image: Google Trends

In Canada, the top ‘how to’ question is about temporary income support, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), followed by how to make a face mask and hand sanitizer.

coronavirus internet search engine google employment job hobbies leisure pastime entertainment media tv video drinks covid19 health questions queries
What Canadians have been searching.
Image: Google Trends

Sinclair says all the data Google is compiling also shows how consumer behaviour is changing, with searches for home exercise and ‘walks near me’ on the up.

“People are increasingly playing games such as ‘bingo’ in Denmark,” she wrote. “And ‘old-fashioned Dutch games’ (‘oud hollandse spelletjes’) in the Netherlands.”

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

EU officially launches its first naval mission against migrant smugglers

London, Berlin, Paris to fight over EU budget

The Free World Experience Report – LGBTQI+ health on the spot

‘Bring to life’ precious moments caught on film or tape, UN agency urges on World Day

Eurozone’s credibility rock solid

These are the ‘positive’ tipping points that could slow global warming

Is academia losing its chance to capitalize on technology?

UN human rights chief denounces grave ‘assaults’ on fundamental rights of Palestinian people

Islamophobia is driving more US Muslims to become politically engaged, suggests report

How to create a trustworthy COVID-19 tracking technology

Insurer CEOs Reveal Marketing Strategies that Communicate the True Value of Insurance Products & Services to the Customer

European Agenda on Migration four years on: Marked progress needs consolidating in face of volatile situation

Keeping cool in the face of climate change

India should ‘unlock’ freedom curbs in disputed Kashmir, urges UN human rights chief

Commission concludes that an Excessive Deficit Procedure is no longer warranted for Italy at this stage

European Commission adopted Report on the Impact of Demographic Change in Europe

Secretary-General upholds value of UN Charter for a world in turmoil

Who cares about the unity of Ukraine?

Why CEOs need to become activists in sustainability

International tourism arrivals hit record high in 2017, UN agency reports

After swallowing effortlessly the right to be forgotten time for Google Ads now to behave

President David Sassoli to visit Skopje: “Remain on the European track”

Poverty data never tells the whole story

Parliament adopts deal to improve quality of tap water and reduce plastic litter

EU-China Leaders’ meeting: Delivering results by standing firm on EU interests and values

Three UN workers killed following Benghazi car bomb attack, as Security Council meets in emergency session, honours their ‘ultimate sacrifice’

Passwords should become a thing of the past. Here’s why

Security: better access to data for border control and migration management

Six steps that can help us to tackle homelessness

Central African Republic: Guterres says UN mission committed to protecting civilians, helping stabilize country, as violence flares

Venezuelans brave torrential border river, face exploitation, abuse – UN urges greater protection

FROM THE FIELD: Weather reports come to aid of Uganda’s farmers

Mine action is at ‘the nexus’ of peace, security and development: UN official

Germany’s fiscal and financial self-destructive policies

Commission pledges €100 million to help Mozambique recover from cyclones Idai and Kenneth

UN rights chief calls for release of hundreds abducted and abused in South Sudan

Bank resolutions to remain a politically influenced affair

Coronavirus: Commission starts testing interoperability gateway service for national contact tracing and warning apps

These countries have some of the highest voter turnout in the world

Commission launches the Fit for Future Platform and invites experts to join

Four ways Europe can become a global innovation leader

Human Rights: breaches in Cambodia, Uganda and Myanmar

Ten reasons to be optimistic in 2019

The European giant tourism sector in constant growth

What cryptocurrencies will do to the integrity of politics

Guterres in Davos: ‘Dysfunctional’ response to common problems, shows need for effective multilateralism

UN chief praises Africa for keeping ‘hearts and borders open’ in refugee crisis

Here are three ways the private sector can act as a sustainability catalyst for Globalization 4.0

Ethiopia planted 350 million trees in a day. And its fight against deforestation does not stop there

ECB policy is working, but new challenges need new responses

Stuck at sea: How to save the world’s seafarers and the supply systems they support

Slight easing of G20 GDP growth in first quarter of 2018

What slums can teach us about building the cities of the future

Coronavirus: Commission concludes exploratory talks with Valneva to secure a new potential vaccine

Employment and Social Developments in Europe review: why social fairness and solidarity are more important than ever

We have the tools to beat climate change. Now we need to legislate

Security Council urges ‘maximum restraint’ around Gulf region as Iran and United States trade diplomatic blows in New York

People, not technology, shape the future of manufacturing

Excise duties: Commission welcomes agreement on rules governing alcohol

Does hosting a World Cup make economic sense?

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s