Google’s Year in Search 2018: looking back to look forward


Google’s Year in Search 2018: looking back to look forward

The New Year is approaching fast. The release of Google’s annual Year in Search marks the start of the official countdown. The two-minute video, which highlights the global search for HOW TO BE GOOD and WHAT MAKES A GOOD… is worth watching. After all, the time for New Year’s resolutions is just around the corner. 

  1. What is Google’s annual Year in Search?
  2. Google’s Year in Search 2018
  4. Looking back to look forward

1) What is Google’s annual Year in Search?

Google has been officially recognized as a verb in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED)—considered the most authoritative dictionary of the English language—since June 2006.

The OED defines the verb Google as:

“To use the Google search engine to find information on the internet. To search for information about (a person or thing) using the Google search engine.”

Google’s annual Year in Search is the expression of our search habits over the course of 12 months. Worldwide, “Google owns 92.37% of the total searches.” – Search Engine Market Share Worldwide, Nov 2017 – Nov 2018

Google’s Year in Search 2018 site not only ranks our searches globally, it allows for country-by-country search breakdowns. You can go crazy and play with different geography. There are also individual search categories that include News, People, Actors, Athletes, Movies and TV Shows.

Every year, Google captures the key insights in a Year in Search video, an emotional recap that showcases many of the people who were the subject of our searches.

2) Google Year in Search 2018

As most of the online headlines claim, 2018 showed a world fascinated by one sporting event, one wedding, a few celebrity deaths, natural disasters, and politics.

Seven of the 10 top Google searches globally were about people who died in 2018, including theoretical physicist and author Stephen Hawking, rapper Mac Miller, the DJ Avicii, comic book creator and icon Stan Lee, celebrity chef, author, and TV personality Anthony Bourdain, and fashion designer Kate Spade.

But what resonates the most with me – and my Comfort Zone Shake-Up project – is that the underlying theme of 2018’s search trends was “good.”

Simon Rogers, Data Editor for Google News Lab summarized the entire year, explaining that we all searched for “good” more than ever before.

“As each year closes, Google Trends data reflects not only these everyday queries, but also the moments, people, ideas, and questions that made that trip around the sun so unique. During a year of highs and lows, the Year in Search highlights all the ways people continued to search for “good”—and this year, it was more than ever.”

Despite everything, we all searched for “good.” In the everyday queries—EVERYDAY QUERIES—we searched for “good.” And this is such a powerful message! We searched for:

  • Good things in the world
  • Good news
  • Good things to watch
  • Who’s a good boy
  • Good vibes
  • Good things in life

I cannot resist the temptation to make a parallel with my Comfort Zone Shake-Up project. When I see this “good,” I think of our “WOW.” The visual expression of good – and my idea of WOW – is this:


If you know my project, you know how much I am fascinated by the “HOW TO” and “WHAT IS” of things. I am glad to see that I am not the only one, as you can see from Google’s inspiring video!

In the Year is Search 2018 the world not only searched for “good” but also for “HOW TO be good”:

  • How to be a good citizen
  • How to be a good singer
  • How to be a good dancer
  • How to be a good kisser
  • How to be a good listener

My version of this “HOW TO be good” is the Comfort Zone Shake-Up idea that says that “every journey to improve the quality of our life, to flourish and grow, every journey to be good, should have one starting point: we should start with ourselves.”

In the Year is Search 2018, the world not only searched for “good” and “HOW TO be good”; people searched also for “WHAT MAKES a good…”:

  • What makes a good role model
  • What makes a good friend
  • What makes a good teacher

My “WHAT MAKES a good…” is (again) the approach of the Comfort Zone Shake-Up.

I advocate the idea of expanding our Comfort Zones instead of jumping out of them. Of course, we can always jump out of our Comfort Zones! But how often are we putting ourselves in uncomfortable situations? Probably not that often!

Life is made of micro-moments. Seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months… How many micro-decisions are we responsible for making just in one morning? A lot. How many micro-decisions are we not making as our subconscious—our automatic pilot—is doing that for us? Even more.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” —Aristotle

4) Looking back and looking forward

Google’s Year in Search is more than the best estimation, it’s a data-driven view of what mattered to society in any given year – and it can sometimes even signal where we’re headed.

I like to watch all the Year in Search videos. They’re a great snapshot of what happen in the last eight years (the first release dates back to 2010 with the name of Zeitgeist 2010: Year in Review).

It’s a great opportunity to look back and prepare ourselves to look forward to the New Year, to our future, to our resolutions. So, let’s go back once again to the video, let’s watch the playlist. Let’s use the Year in Search to look back, so we will be ready to look forward.


Comfort Zone Shake-Up drawings by Melinda Walker – One Squiggly Line

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