At the end of every year, Google does humanity a solid and releases a tiny fraction of the data it gathers about our collective search histories.
Named the Google Year in Search, the annual rundown offers insights into the topics individuals care about the most—think movies, people, and TV shows. “How” and “why” questions make an appearance (because it’s always interesting to discover what other people don’t know), as do recipes, because lord knows we all need advice on how to make scalloped potatoes.
In this year’s data for Canadian searches, there are a number of surprises.
In Canadian news, Google is on hand to inform us that more people searched for the Winnipeg Jets than any other NHL team (commiserations to the Toronto Maple Leafs). People cared more about the Canada Post strike than cannabis—though presumably the two go hand in hand for literally everyone who doesn't live in B.C.—and the fine citizens of New Brunswick broke into the top 10 by trying to find out just when their power would be turned back on.
International news was similarly entertaining. Donald Trump didn’t make it into the top search results, though Canucks were keen to discover what happened in the American midterm elections: the sixth most searched-for term. Natural disasters were a prevalent theme across the top 10, with requests for information about hurricane Florence, the Hawaiian volcano eruption, and hurricane Michael featuring high up the list. Canadians cared about the Royal Wedding, but thankfully not as much as the Winter Olympics, or the World Cup. Go team.
Celebrity gossip is always a hit on Google’s year-end roundup. The people most searched for in 2018 included Demi Lovato—who spent the latter part of the year bouncing back after an accidental OD—and Hailey Baldwin, who tied the knot with Justin Bieber in a surprise ceremony. True patriots, Canadians ranked Olympic figure skater Tessa Virtue ahead of the notorious Stormy Daniels, coming in at four and eight respectively. Athletes were a hit in 2018 with Kawhi Leonard, Tristan Thompson, William Nylander, and John Tavares each breaking into the top 10, largely thanks to Ontario’s enthusiastic keystrokes.
The jewel in the Google Year in Search crown, however, is always the “why” questions. This year’s selection did not disappoint. Canadians in Ontario were particularly interested in why 6ix9ine was going to jail—spoiler: he’s generally a terrible person. Searchers were also unclear about why Russians were banned from the Winter Olympics, and promptly discovered that they spent much of the last, oh, four years systematically cheating. People from Manitoba really wanted to know why Greeks break plates, while Albertans were more interested in why dogs eat their poop. Number eight on the list asked why Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell from the Bachelor broke up—definitely also our favourite couple from the show—while, in true Canadian form, number nine asked “why 420 is weed day”. Come to think of it, we’re not sure either.
The full list—including categories for TV shows, consumer tech, and losses—can be found here.
Kate Wilson is the technology editor at the Georgia Straight. Follow her on Twitter @KateWilsonSaysMore