Talk about a throwback! Google reveals how Brits’ internet searches have changed since its Trends tool launched in 2006 – when our top queries were Lily Allen, WWE and Robbie Williams

  • Google has revealed how our internet searches have changed over past 15 years
  • It compared July 2006 to July 2021 to celebrate 15th anniversary of Trends tool
  • Top celebrity searches, song lyrics, recipes and places to travel are all featured
  • Shakira and Lily Allen popular in 2006; Olivia Rodrigo and Piers Morgan in 2021 

From Shakira to Olivia Rodrigo, and Robbie Williams to Piers Morgan, Google has revealed how our internet searches have changed over the past 15 years.

The tech giant shared a comparison between 2006 and today of the top celebrities, song lyrics, recipes and places to travel that people have Googled.

Nelly Furtado’s Maneater, Ne-Yo’s Sexy Love and Rihanna’s Unfaithful were all popular terms for karaoke fans more than a decade ago, while England’s run to the final of Euro 2020 played a big part in the song searches of Britons last month.

Google shared the comparisons in celebration of the 15th anniversary of its Google Trends tool, which was launched in 2006 to provide journalists, scholars, researchers and the general public with an insight into cultural and societal trends around the world. 

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From Shakira (pictured left) to Olivia Rodrigo (right), Google has revealed how our internet searches have changed over the past 15 years

In July 2006, the top celebrity searches by Britons were for actor Johnny Depp, pop stars Lily Allen, Robbie Williams, and Christina Aguilera, and Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett, who died aged 60 that month. 

By comparison, last month the most popular celebrities in internet searches were Britney Spears, Tom Cruise, actress Florence Pugh, Piers Morgan and England and Manchester United footballer Jadon Sancho.

When it comes to sporting events, Formula 1 and Wimbledon were both top searches this summer and 15 years ago, but while WWE and the Tour de France featured in 2006, they dropped out of the top five in 2021.

That was likely due in part to the Olympics — which unusually took place this year because of a delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic. 

It was not an Olympic year in 2006, so it was not a top search term then, while for football fans there was also a World Cup rather than last month’s Euros.

Copa America was also in the top five sporting event searches by Britons in 2021 along with the Euros. 

Google shared the comparisons in celebration of the 15th anniversary of its Google Trends tool, which was launched in 2006 to provide journalists, scholars, researchers and the general public with an insight into cultural and societal trends around the world

Top searches in 2020

  • How to make a face mask?
  • How to make hand sanitizer?
  • How to make bread?
  • Coronavirus
  • US election
  • Caroline Flack
  • Coronavirus symptoms
  • Afternoon tea delivery
  • Wine delivery
  • KFC recipe
  • IKEA meatball recipe
  • Joe Wicks kids workout
  • Phillip Schofield
  • Carole Baskin 
  • Joe Exotic
  • Love Island
  • Dennis Nilsen
  • Sean Connery
  • What is VE day?
  • What is coronavirus?
  • What tier am I in?
  • What does woke mean?
  • What does furlough mean?

When comparing fitness regimes, stomach exercises, cross training and Pilates were all popular search terms 15 years ago, replaced by Hiit workouts, pelvic floor exercises and kettlebell workouts today. 

On a global scale, in July 2006 people were searching for Las Vegas, Barcelona, Dubai, Italy and Niagara Falls as places to travel. 

But although Barcelona and Dubai featured on the list 15 years later, this time they were joined by Brazil, Bali and the Maldives as Google users across the world looked to exotic climes for their holidays.

When it comes to famous people, Shakira, Paris Hilton and French footballer Zinedine Zidane were all among the top global searches in July 2006, while in July 2021 they had been replaced by the likes of Olivia Rodrigo, Lionel Messi and Roger Federer.

Tetris and Grand Theft Auto were in the top five most searched for video games 15 years ago, while today they have been replaced by Sonic, Pokemon Go and FIFA 22.

Last year Google’s list of the ‘big hitter’ search terms for 2020 by tech users in the UK was, unsurprisingly, dominated by coronavirus.

From the search for symptoms and pandemic updates to the Eat Out To Help Out scheme, it represented four of the top ten searches.

Those looking for ‘How to’ answers to cope during lockdown lodged millions of questions around making face masks and hand sanitiser.

The third most asked question involved how to make bread, which explains the shortage of flour in supermarkets during the crisis, while millions sought advice on hair cutting and styling at home. 

With government advice to stay inside apart from essential trips, many saw online sessions by the nation’s PE teacher, Joe Wicks, as a lifeline. 

For fitness, the top two searches were for ‘Joe Wicks kids workout’ and ‘Joe Wicks workout’.

GOOGLE’S TOP 15 TIPS TO GET THE MOST OUT OF ITS TRENDS TOOL 

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