Search giant Google has rounded off the year with its annual chart rundown of the most searched-for words and phrases of the previous 12 months.
The list is often an accurate reflection not just of world events but how people dealt with them or got their information. As such, the list is frequently dominated by seismic global events (not least the Covid-19 pandemic in recent years).
This time, however, there was a little more levity on display, with the most searched word in 2022 being: Wordle.
The word-guessing game was created in 2021 by Welsh developer Josh Wardle, who wanted something fun to play with his puzzle-loving wife. However, it gained enormous mainstream success largely through word of mouth, as people raved about the game that was easy to learn but offered a brand new challenge every day.
Surely enough, it wasn’t just ‘Wordle’ itself that troubled Google’s list of most frequently searched words, as some from within the game also featured. Whenever a day’s challenge featured a rather more unusual word, gamers would flock to the search engine to find out what it actually meant.
Among the five-letter solution words attributed to Wordle that saw their search stock rise were cacao, foray and tacit.
Outside of Wordle, other huge search terms included Ukraine (due to the ongoing war with Russia), Queen Elizabeth II (following her death in September) and Will Smith (who made headlines around the world after slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars).
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Google’s report wasn’t what people searched, though, but how. It reported that more people than ever before were interacting with the search engine beyond just typing in old fashioned alphanumeric queries. Instead, people around the world are now speaking to Google to ask it questions, searching by photo, or even humming a song to find out what it is.
All this points to Google becoming even more ubiquitous than it already is over the years to come, with it on hand across numerous devices around the home and office ready for us to ask it who’s made the news, what this earworm is, or what on earth ‘augur’ means.