Category Archives: Inside Search Blog

The official Google Search blog

Take a look at these pandemic pastimes

I've never spent as much time at home as I have in the last year. Of course, I'm not the only one. Over the past year or so of quarantine, I've found myself searching for new things to do. I searched for “cheesemaking” when my kids asked me to play sous chef, and for “bird watching” and “how to create container gardens” when we started spending more time outside.  Like so many people, I looked up recipes for baking bread. My quarantine search history feels like a bingo card for hobbies. 

This made me wonder what other people were searching for during the pandemic — and  how have these interests changed over time? 

To get an idea, we worked with design studio Polygraph (creators of The Pudding) to create a new interactive tool that allows us to dig deeper into what captivated our year of social distancing. With this new calendar view, you can see what hobbies and interests were trending on any specific day a year ago in the U.S. Each day reflects the topic that saw the greatest growth in search queries compared to one year prior. You can also learn more about a specific topic by visiting the Google Trends website.
Google Trends

Hobbies in 2020 were compared to the search volume in 2019 to calculate percent growth. The hobby with the largest growth was featured on the respective day. Play with the tool here.

Explore more by searching for specific hobbies in the calendar or click to select different dates and view what hobby was keeping us busy at that time last year. (It’s nice to know I wasn’t the only one searching for “needlepoint” on April 8 last year.) You can even select a specific hobby and connect with helpful information on the Search results page.

View on Search

Google Trends provides a unique perspective of what we’re currently interested in and curious about. If I learned anything from using this new tool, it’s that we all have more in common than we might think.

Source: Search

The ABCs of spelling in Google Search

You’d hardly know it from the way Google Search works, but nearly 20 years after introducing our first spell-check system, spelling remains an ongoing challenge of language understanding. Before we can even begin to start looking for relevant results for a search query, we have to know what a user is looking for, spelled correctly. But every day, one out of 10 search queries is misspelled, and new words are constantly being introduced, along with new ways to misspell them. If you’ve ever been guilty of misspelling a search only to get what you were looking for anyway, read on to learn more about the ABCs of spelling in Google Search. 

A is for All about common spelling mistakes

Our spelling mistakes tend to fall into two main categories: conceptual and slip-of-finger mistakes. We make conceptual mistakes when we’re unsure of how to spell something and try to take our best guess. Say you want to look up the meaning of “gobbledygook” and you don’t know exactly how to spell it, which wouldn’t be unusual since it’s both a difficult to spell word and has two commonly accepted spellings, including “gobbledegook.” In this case, we’ll see many best-effort spellings of the word like “garbledygook,” “gobblydegook,” “gobbleygook,” “gobbly gook,” and more.

An animation of a misspelled search for "gobbledygook"

Slip-of-finger spelling errors happen when we know how to spell what we’re looking for, but accidentally mistype it. Most of us have probably experienced this, especially since the rise of the smartphone, but it happens when we’re typing on full-size keyboards, too. This is why we see over 10,000 variations of queries like “YouTube,” all made by the accidental slip of a finger, such as “ytoube,” “7outub,” “yoitubd” and “tourube.”

An animation of a misspelled search for YouTube

B is for Better models to solve for the unknown

Despite how common our mistakes are, many misspelled queries appear only once, making spelling a unique challenge for Search. And regardless of what kind of spelling error was made, our systems find ways to understand what you mean. Previously, to solve for these never-before-seen misspellings, our systems found inspiration in the keyboard design. For example, if you tried to type "u" but made a mistake, our systems learned you were more likely to have typed "y" than "z" because "y" is adjacent to "u" on a standard English language keyboard. Our models applied the general concept to all new misspellings, walking down nearby letter replacements until a popular replacement term was identified. While this may have seemed like an obvious way to solve for slip-of-finger mistakes, this general approach effectively corrected all kinds of spelling errors, including conceptual mistakes. 

Thanks to advancements in deep learning, we now have a better way to understand spelling. Late last year, we announced a new spelling algorithm that uses a deep neural net that better models and learns from less-common and unique spelling mistakes. This advancement enables us to run a model with more than 680 million parameters in under two milliseconds — a very large model that works faster than the flap of a hummingbird’s wings — so people can search uninterrupted by their own spelling errors. 

And how do our systems know what someone is looking for, no matter the type of mistake and if we’ve never seen the misspelling before? This is where context comes into play. Our natural language understanding models look at a search in context, like the relationship that words and letters within the query have to each other. Our systems start by deciphering or trying to understand your entire search query first. From there, we generate the best replacements for the misspelled words in the query based on our overall understanding of what you’re looking for. For example, we can tell from the other words in the query “average home coast” that you’re probably looking for information on “average home cost.” 

C is for Correcting your query — nicely

You might see these spelling technologies pop up in Google Search in different ways. When we’re pretty sure we know what you’re looking for, we may politely ask, “did you mean…” and show the alternative we think you intended to search for. When we’re very confident that we’ve correctly identified your misspelling, we’ll automatically show results for what we think you’re looking for -- but we’ll always let you know and provide a way to get back to your original spelling. And whether you take our suggestion or not, we’re constantly learning and improving our systems based on that feedback to make Search more helpful.

So whether you’re a spelling bee champ or can't quite nail “I before E except after C,” we'll always be working to improve our spelling so you can keep searching. 

Source: Search

Google Search sends more traffic to the open web every year

This week, we saw some discussion about a claim that the majority of searches on Google end without someone clicking off to a website — or what some have called “zero-click” searches. As practitioners across the search industry have noted, this claim relies on flawed methodology that misunderstands how people use Search. In reality, Google Search sends billions of clicks to websites every day, and we’ve sent more traffic to the open web every year since Google was first created. And beyond just traffic, we also connect people with businesses in a wide variety of ways through Search, such as enabling a phone call to a business. 

To set the record straight, we wanted to provide important context about this misleading claim.

How people use Search 

People use Search to find a wide range of information, and billions of times per day, Google Search sends someone to a website. But not every query results in a click to a website, and there are a lot of very good reasons why:

People reformulate their queries

People don’t always know how to word their queries when they begin searching. They might start with a broad search, like “sneakers” and, after reviewing results, realize that they actually wanted to find “black sneakers.” In this case, these searches would be considered a “zero-click” — because the search didn’t result immediately in a click to a website. In the case of shopping for sneakers, it may take a few “zero-click” searches to get there, but if someone ultimately ends up on a retailer site and makes a purchase, Google has delivered a qualified visitor to that site, less likely to bounce back dissatisfied.

Because this happens so frequently, we offer many features (like “related searches” links) to help people formulate their searches and get to the most helpful result, which is often on a website.

People look for quick facts

People look for quick, factual information, like weather forecasts, sports scores, currency conversions, the time in different locations and more. As many search engines do, we provide this information directly on the results page, drawing from licensing agreements or tools we’ve developed. These results are helpful for users, and part of our ongoing work to make Google Search better every day.

In 2020, for example, we showed factual information about important topics like COVID and the U.S. elections, which generated some of the most interest we’ve ever seen on Search. Our elections results feature was seen billions of times, delivering high-quality information in real time as people awaited the outcome. We also provided factual information about COVID symptoms in partnership with the WHO and local health authorities, making critical information readily accessible and upholding our responsibility to fight against potential misinformation online. 

People connect with a business directly

When it comes to local businesses, we provide many ways for consumers to connect directly with businesses through Google Search, many of which don’t require a traditional click. As an example, people might search for business hours, then drive to the store after confirming a location is open. Or they find restaurants on Google and call for information or to place an order, using phone numbers we list. On average, local results in Search drive more than 4 billion connections for businesses every month. This includes more than 2 billion visits to websites as well as connections like phone calls, directions, ordering food and making reservations.

We also help the many local businesses that don’t have their own website. Through Google My Business, businesses can create and manage their own page on Google, and get found online. Each month, Google Search connects people with more than 120 million businesses that don’t have a website. 

People navigate directly to apps

Some searches take people directly to apps, rather than to websites. For example, if you search for a TV show, you'll see links to various streaming providers like Netflix or Hulu. If you have that streaming app on your phone, these links will take you directly into the app. The same is true for many other apps, such as Instagram, Amazon, Spotify and more.

More opportunity for websites and businesses

We send billions of visits to websites every day, and the traffic we’ve sent to the open web has increased every year since Google Search was first created. 

Over the years, we’ve worked to constantly improve Google Search by designing and rolling out helpful features to help people quickly find what they’re looking for, including maps, videos, links to products and services you can buy directly, flight and hotel options, and local business information like hours of operation and delivery services. In doing so, we’ve dramatically grown the opportunity for websites to reach people. In fact, our search results page, which used to show 10 blue links, now shows an average of 26 links to websites on a single search results page on mobile. 

Building for the future of the web

We care deeply about the open web and have continually improved Google Search over the years, helping businesses, publishers and creators thrive. Some would argue that we should revert back to showing only 10 blue website links. While we do show website links for many queries today when they are the most helpful response, we also want to build new features that organize information in more helpful ways than just a list of links. And we’ve seen that as we’ve introduced more of these features over the last two decades, the traffic we’re driving to the web has also grown — showing that this is helpful for both consumers and businesses.

Source: Search

Stay tournament-ready with Google

If you’re ready for a month of nonstop college hoops, we’ve got great news: Google Search and Google Assistant features are here to keep you updated and make sure you don't miss a single play. 

One-stop shop for game highlights

We teamed up with the NCAA and Turner Sports to bring the action of both the men and women’s Tournaments to you. Game-related searches including those for specific teams, match-ups or the tournament will trigger either in-game or postgame video highlights, all from the Google Search page. From unbelievable blocks to clutch steals to buzzer beaters, you’ll be able to relive the best moments from every game. 

Gameday Assist(ant)

You can also use Google Assistant to find out when the next game is or check on the latest scores. Try asking, “Hey Google…”

  • “When's the next college basketball  game?” 

  • “When's the next [team name] game?”

  • “What’s the latest college basketball news?”

A Trends-based bracket

Everyone has their own method of filling out a bracket. Maybe you’ve researched the teams, or perhaps you’re one of those people who pick based on the mascots. Whatever your method, we know it’s a popular pursuit because U.S. search interest in “Bracket” peaks every year in March. Well we decided to use Search trends to fill out our own for both the men’s and women’s tournaments:
Men's NCAA tournament bracket filled out with Search trends
Women's NCAA tournament bracket filled out with Search trends

Should you choose to use it as a guide we won’t tell anyone 😉.

Source: Search

We can’t heartly wait for Valentine’s Day

This year, we want to bring a little sparkle to your Valentine’s Day — literally. 

Today’s Google Doodle shimmers with glitter, which the artist created using glue and stop motion photography. If you want to let someone know you care, let the Doodle be an inspiration and try making your own card – my personal preference is the more glitter, the better. If you’re struggling with finding the right words for your Valentine, you aren’t alone: Searches for “what to write in valentines day card” increased by 400 percent in the U.S. this week.
Valentine's Day Doodle

Of course everyone celebrates Valentine’s Day differently — maybe cards aren’t your thing. A few other consistent searches showed up in Google this year. Classic gifts are still a go-to: “Valentine’s chocolate” and “Valentine’s flowers” saw search increases this week (in fact, searches for “where do they sell flowers near me” spiked more than 3,950% this week). Take a look at how they compare across the country.

Valentine Flowers and Chocolate

Instead of sticking to the tried-and-true, perhaps you’re looking to express yourself a bit more...visually. Say, with a heart-shaped...something! Here are the most popular searches for “heart-shaped…” items by state. It looks like people in Texas are tacoing about love this year, while over in Illinois, they’re sharing a pizza of their heart.

Heart Shaped Trends

These Google Trends aren't the only thing that’s heart-shaped: Search for “Valentine’s Day” on Google and you’ll get a sweet(heart) surprise. 

And if you’re looking to tell someone how you feel this holiday, Google Assistant can help you spread the love. Here’s a list to get you started:

  • “Hey Google, read me a love poem.”

  • “Hey Google, play romantic music.” 

  • "Hey Google, turn up the love” for some light jazz, and if you have color-changing smart lights, they’ll light up in red and purple tones.

  • “Hey Google, show romantic dinner recipes.”

  • “Hey Google, serenade me.”

  • "Hey Google, play a podcast about relationships.” 

  • “Hey Google, tell me a fact about love” to learn about love in the animal kingdom.

  • Or ask, “Hey Google, do you love me?” for some help creating your own poem.

You can even treat yourself to a romantic movie night — or nights, no judgement here. Google TV is featuring Valentine’s Day collections until February 21, so you can settle in and browse through "Rom-coms you love," "Ugly cry: Sad love stories" or “Black love stories.” These collections are available on your Chromecast with Google TV or in the Google TV app on Android devices in the U.S.

No matter what your plans are this year, we hope you have a great Valentine’s Day — and sorry for all the heartfelt puns...I know I can be pretty coronary.

Source: Search

A Google designer takes us inside Search’s mobile redesign

The beginning of a new year inspires people everywhere to make changes. It's when many of us take stock of our lives, our careers or even just our surroundings and think about what improvements we can make. That's also been the case for Google designer Aileen Cheng. Aileen recently led a major visual redesign of the mobile Search experience, which rolls out in the coming days. “We wanted to take a step back to simplify a bit so people could find what they’re looking for faster and more easily,” she says. “I find it really refreshing. To me, it’s a breath of fresh air!” 

Like all organizing efforts, this one came with its challenges. “Rethinking the visual design for something like Search is really complex,” Aileen says. “That’s especially true given how much Google Search has evolved. We’re not just organizing the web’s information, but all the world’s information,” Aileen says. “We started with organizing web pages, but now there’s so much diversity in the types of content and information we have to help make sense of.” 

Image showing a mock-up of a Pixel phone with Google Search pulled up on the screen. The search results show answers about Humpback whales, including two images.

We recently had the chance to learn more about the new look from Aileen, as well as the process. Here are five things that drove the redesign: 

1. Bringing information into focus. “We want to let the search results shine, allowing people to focus on the information instead of the design elements around it,” says Aileen. “It’s about simplifying the experience and getting people to the information they’re looking for as clearly and quickly as possible.” 

2. Making text easier to read. One way the team did this was by using larger, bolder text, so the human eye can scan and understand Search results faster. “We’re making the result and section titles bigger, as well,” Aileen says. While we’re on the subject of text: The update also includes more of Google’s own font, which already shows up in Android and Gmail, among other Google products. “Bringing consistency to when and how we use fonts in Search was important, too, which also helps people parse information more efficiently,” Aileen explains. 

Image showing a phone with Google Search pulled up on the screen. The search query is for "running spots sf."

3. Creating more breathing room. “We decided to create a new edge-to-edge results design and to minimize the use of shadows, making it easier to immediately see what you’re looking for,” says Aileen. “The overall effect is that you have more visual space and breathing room for Search results and other content to take center stage.”

4. Using color to highlight what’s important. Aileen says that some other iterations of the redesign experimented with using lots of bold colors, and others tried more muted tones. They weren’t quite right, though, and ultimately the team focused on centering content and images against a clean background and using color more intentionally to guide the eye to important information without being overwhelming or distracting. “It has an optimistic feel, too,” Aileen says.  

5. Leaning into that “Googley” feeling. If you’re noticing the new design feels a little bubblier and bouncier, you’re onto something. “If you look at the Google logo, you’ll notice there’s a lot of roundness to it, so we’re borrowing from that and bringing it to other places as well,” says Aileen. You’ll see that in parts of this redesign, like in rounded icons and imagery. “That form is already so much a part of our DNA. Just look at the Search bar, or the magnifying glass,” Aileen points out.

Image showing Google logo with design effects pointing to its roundness.

Part of the work is also in refreshing the look while remaining familiar. “My three-year-old recently dropped a handful of Legos in my hand, red, yellow, green, blue, and he told me, ‘Mama, this is Google,’” Aileen says. “That’s how playful and well known we are to people. And when we redesign something, we want to bring that familiarity and approachability with us, too.”

Source: Search

Producer Peter Cottentale captures 2020 in a song

Checkout the song, ‘Together,’ the backing track to Year in Search.

In a year unlike any other, we knew Google’s 2020 Year in Search campaign would need to take a unique approach. Each year, Google Trends data reflects not only everyday queries, but also the moments, people and ideas that defined that year. Inspired by the year’s Trends data, music producer Peter Cottontale created the song highlighted in Year in Search.

Peter is a GRAMMY–winning producer and musician for his work with Chance the Rapper.  He self released his first solo album, CATCH, earlier this year. He’s also collaborated with artists all over the world over the past decade as a composer, producer, and music director, as well as a featured artist primarily on keys. And the Chicago native has a special place in his heart for working with artists from his hometown.
Peter Cottontale

Peter wrote and produced the song “Together”in collaboration with Chance the Rapper, Cynthia Erivo, the Chicago Children’s Choir, Matt Jones (of Re-Collective Orchestra,) and Rachel Robinson and Jamila Woods. “Together” acknowledges 2020’s heartaches and challenges, as well as the need for communities to come together. Ultimately, Peter’s song delivers a message of hope.

We sat down with Peter to learn more about his creative process, why this song meant so much to him and the importance of lifting Black voices.

What inspired Together?

After hearing about the plans for Year in Search, the context and vision for the project really stood out. From health concerns to the spotlight on the Black struggle, it felt like the right way to help contextualize, increase representation and create opportunities for all of those involved through Google’s Year in Search campaign. My hope is that showcasing opportunities for Black artists with Google will lead to more opportunities and other projects down the road. 

Tell us about your creative process. 

We had initial meetings discussing what 2020 has meant to people. The cast of people involved in creating the music and the film were, if not leaders themselves, surrounded by leaders who in their own way are pushing for change in the community. It was also about giving everyone hope and a bit of celebration too. We wanted to show that by working together, growing together, we will get through this.

How did you select the talent that helped bring your vision to reality?

In a year where the focus has been on Black women, I wanted to showcase and highlight amazing Black women artists and writers.  I worked with Jamila Woods and Young Chicago Authors to develop some of the early concepts for the record. Cynthia Erivo, an amazing artist and Black woman,  was the featured female vocalist on the track. And we also included Black artists from a variety of different genres and experiences. To really capture the essence of this year, we asked the Chicago Children’s Choir to join the project. The organization’s social justice history and effort to bring young voices of different backgrounds together through song truly inspired me. 

What impact has this year had on you, both personally and professionally? 

This year has been the craziest year of my life so far for sure, and I’m sure others feel the same way too. I learned how to run and operate my recording studio in the middle of shutdowns, with virtual sessions and other offerings. I had to get really creative about how I rolled out my own music and merchandise. I was in the streets most of the summer alongside community leaders, serving and amplifying the work of friends around me who spent their summer protesting and fighting for Black Lives. And of course, I’ve had to navigate and work around production delays caused by COVID-19, so I’ve found different ways of getting things done, and grown in patience. As tough as this year has been, it has been full of blessings and so many great lessons. I’m really excited for the future.

What is your wish for the future of diversity and representation in creative fields and the music industry?

Wow, I have to pick one wish? I always wish for the progression of diversity and the advancement of authentic representation in writers rooms, media and development of culture-based environments.  So often, equity gets lost somewhere, for non-creatives and creatives alike. Black people are a disenfranchised minority who are affected by misrepresentation on a daily basis on macro and micro levels. I couldn’t possibly solve [this] with one wish.

As 2020 comes to an end, we are excited to share “Together” with the world. Thank you, Peter and everyone involved the making of this much needed piece of music.

Source: Search

El productor Peter Cottentale captura el 2020 en una canción

Echa un vistazo a la canción "Together", la pista de acompañamiento de "El año en búsquedas" ...

En un año como ningún otro, sabíamos que la campaña 2020 de Year in Search tendría que adoptar un enfoque único. Cada año, los datos de Google Trends reflejan no solo las consultas diarias, sino también los momentos, las personas y las ideas que definieron ese año. Inspirado por los datos de Tendencias del año, el productor musical Peter Cottontale creó la canción destacada en Year in Search.

Peter Cottontale

Peter es un productor y músico ganador del GRAMMY por su trabajo con Chance the Rapper. Él mismo lanzó su primer solo álbum, CATCH, a principios de este año. También ha colaborado con artistas de todo el mundo durante la última década como compositor, productor y director musical, así como también como artista destacado principalmente en los teclados. El nativo de Chicago tiene un lugar especial en su corazón para trabajar con artistas de su ciudad natal.

Peter escribió y produjo la canción "Together" en colaboración con Chance the Rapper, Cynthia Erivo, el Chicago Children’s Choir, Matt Jones (de Re-Collective Orchestra), Rachel Robinson y Jamila Woods. "Juntos" reconoce las angustias y los desafíos del 2020, así como la necesidad de que las comunidades se unan. Al final, la canción de Peter transmite un mensaje de esperanza.

Nos sentamos con Peter para aprender más sobre su proceso creativo, por qué esta canción significaba tanto para él y la importancia de elevar las voces negras.

¿Qué inspiró Together?

Después de escuchar sobre los planes para "El Año en Búsquedas", el contexto y la visión del proyecto realmente se destacaron. Desde problemas de salud hasta el foco en la lucha de la comunidad negra, se sintió como la forma correcta de ayudar a contextualizar, aumentar la representación y crear oportunidades para todos los involucrados a través de la campaña "El Año en Búsquedas" de Google. Mi esperanza es que mostrar oportunidades para artistas negros con Google genere más oportunidades y otros proyectos en el futuro.

Cuéntanos sobre tu proceso creativo.

Tuvimos reuniones iniciales para discutir lo que el 2020 ha significado para las personas. El elenco de personas involucradas en la creación de la música y la película eran, si no líderes, rodeados de líderes que, a su manera, están impulsando el cambio en la comunidad. También se trataba de dar esperanza a todos y un poco de celebración también. Queríamos mostrar que trabajando juntos, creciendo juntos, lo superaremos.

¿Cómo seleccionaste el talento que te ayudó a hacer realidad tu visión?

En un año en el que la atención se centró en las mujeres negras, quería mostrar y destacar a las increíbles artistas y escritoras negras. Trabajé con Jamila Woods y Young Chicago Authors para desarrollar algunos de los primeros conceptos para el disco. Cynthia Erivo, una artista increíble y mujer negra, fue la vocalista femenina destacada en la pista. También incluimos artistas negros de una variedad de géneros y experiencias diferentes. Para capturar realmente la esencia de este año, le pedimos al Coro de Niños de Chicago que se uniera al proyecto. La historia de justicia social de la organización y su esfuerzo por unir voces jóvenes de diferentes orígenes a través de canciones realmente me inspiraron.

¿Qué impacto ha tenido este año en ti, tanto a nivel personal como profesional?

Este año ha sido el año más loco de mi vida hasta ahora sin duda, y estoy seguro de que otros también sienten lo mismo. Aprendí a operar mi estudio de grabación en medio de cierres, con sesiones virtuales y otras herramientas. Tuve que ponerme realmente creativo sobre cómo lanzar mi propia música y marca. Estuve en las calles la mayor parte del verano junto a los líderes comunitarios, sirviendo y ampliando el trabajo de amigos a mi alrededor que pasaron el verano protestando y luchando por la comunidad negra. Y, por supuesto, tuve que navegar y solucionar los retrasos en la producción causados por COVID-19, así que encontré diferentes formas de hacer las cosas y crecí en paciencia. A pesar de lo duro que ha sido este año, ha estado lleno de bendiciones y de muchas lecciones maravillosas. Estoy muy emocionado por el futuro.

¿Cuál es tu deseo para el futuro de la diversidad y la representación en los campos creativos y en la industria de la música?

Vaya, ¿tengo que elegir solo un deseo? Siempre deseo la progresión de la diversidad y el avance de la representación auténtica en las salas de escritores, los medios y el desarrollo de entornos basados en la cultura. Muy a menudo, la equidad se pierde en alguna parte, tanto para los no creativos como para los creativos. Los negros son una minoría desfavorecida que se ven afectados por la tergiversación a diario a nivel macro y micro. No podría resolver [esto] con un solo deseo.

Ahora que el 2020 llega a su fin, estamos emocionados de compartir "Together" con el mundo. Gracias, Peter y todos los involucrados en la realización de esta pieza musical tan necesaria.

Source: Search

How location helps provide more relevant search results

There are many factors that play a role in providing helpful results when you search for something on Google. These factors help us rank or order results and can include the words of your query, the relevance or usability of web pages in our index, and the expertise of sources.

Location is another important factor to provide relevant Search results. It helps you find the nearest coffee shop when you need a pick-me-up, traffic predictions along your route, and even important emergency information for your area. In this post, we’ll share details about the vital role that location plays in generating great search results.

Finding businesses and services in your community

It’s a Friday night. You’re hungry and want some pizza delivered. If Google couldn’t consider location in search ranking, our results might display random pizza restaurants that are nowhere near you. With location information, we can better ensure you’re getting webpages and business listings about pizza places that are local and relevant to you.

The same is true for many types of businesses and services with physical locations, such as banks, post offices, restaurants or stores. Consider two people who search for zoos—one in Omaha, Nebraska and the other in Mobile, Alabama. Location information helps both get the right local information that they need:

Searches for "zoos" in Omaha, Nebraska and Mobile, Alabama

Same query, different local contexts

Location can matter even when you’re searching for something that doesn’t necessarily have a physical location. For example, a search for “air quality” in San Diego, California versus Tulsa, Oklahoma might lead you to pages with local information relevant to each area.

Searches for “air quality” in San Diego, California and Tulsa, Oklahoma

Similarly, certain information in Search can be more useful if it’s specific to your city or neighborhood. If you were to search Google for “parking information,” you might see information about municipal codes and parking enforcement for your local area that would differ from what someone else might see in another city. 

Local information in search results can also be helpful in an emergency. If you search for “hurricane,” our Crisis Response features can show you local shelter information if there’s a hurricane close by, rather than just generic information about what a hurricane is.

Of course, just because some searches have local results, it’s not the case that everyone gets completely different results just because they are in different cities (or even different countries). If a search topic has no local aspect to it, there won’t be local results shown. If there is, we’ll show a mix of local results that are relevant to particular places along with non-local results that are generally useful.

How location works at Google

You might be wondering how location works at Google. Google determines location from a few different sources, and then uses this information to deliver more relevant experiences when it will be more helpful for people. Learn more about the different ways we may understand location in the video below as well as how to manage your data in a way that works best for you on our help center page about location and Search

Location is a critical part of how Google is able to deliver the most relevant and helpful search results possible—whether you need emergency information in a snap, or just some late-night pizza delivered. For more under-the-hood information, check out our How Search Works series. 

Source: Search

20 years of Year in Search

Twenty years ago, Google published its very first end-of-year list, called the Year-End Google Zeitgeist. Looking back, it’s clear how much some things have changed (please see the list of the top 10 MP3 music resources), and how much they stay the same (decades later and we’re still watching some of these sitcoms). 

Originally, these year-end lists evolved out of an internal project, eventually becoming the annual, public-facing report in 2001. “It's not a million miles away from what we do now,” says Google Data Trends editor Simon Rogers, looking back on that very first site. 

The original year-end collection wasn’t just created as a way for people to reflect on Search trends; it was also a way for people, including those who work in marketing or media, to find interesting stories and understand more about the events, people and moments of a certain year. 

These days, Year in Search is accompanied by a film that showcases the emotion behind the searches and trends of the year. “We also started finding a theme—this year it’s ‘why,’ which was at an all-time high in Google Trends history,” says Simon.  

Engineer Roni Rabin has been working on Year in Search for the past eight years and she’s seen it become increasingly sophisticated over time. “It’s always a really special moment once Year in Search launches and we see the world discovering the video and the lists.” 

And this year, there’s been plenty to discover. Simon calls 2020 a “dramatically interesting year for Search.” Past topics he remembers as significant for Search trends include weather events and the 2016 election—but nothing quite compares to the communal global interests of 2020. “These big, shared moments that affect everybody, they’re pretty rare,” he says. “And just to see so many crammed into such a short period of time, one year, is pretty unusual. I haven’t really seen anything like this.”

While Year in Search has changed over the years, there’s a hopefulness about the project that’s remained. “One of the things that makes me happy every year is how alike we are,” Simon explains. “Despite how different and divided we can be, this year especially, the data really showed how much we have in common.”

Source: Search