Paola Bassanese is an author and freelance writer. She is interested in healthy living, work/life balance, and the performing arts.
Let Me Google That
Where Am I?
What time is it? Where am I? How are you? These are just a few examples of questions people ask Google.
We often do a quick search to double-check something we are unsure of and in the meantime Google is busy collecting all that information.
Here are a few examples of unusual Google questions.
Finding the Answers
Questions about Today
Worldwide searches on Google often feature questions about today, such as:
- What day is today?
- Is today a holiday?
- What is the weather today?
While it’s quite intuitive to know why people want to know what kind of weather to expect during the day, it’s interesting to see how easy it can be to lose track of time and having to check what day of the week it is or if a holiday we had forgotten about is magically happening today and we don’t have to go to work.
Questions about Social Media
The most commonly asked questions about social media are not about how to use them but how to delete profiles:
- How to delete Instagram account
- How to delete Snapchat account
- How to delete Facebook account
- How to deactivate Facebook.
It must be said that social media profiles don’t place a “delete profile” button in a prominent place. Understandably, the ultimate goal of social media companies is to keep users on their platforms for the longest possible time and drive engagement.
These searches often direct to specific help pages with instructions on how to leave a social media platform, with options such as deactivating a profile temporarily or completely deleting all profile information permanently, from pictures and videos to status updates and links.
Questions about Weight
The frequency of questions about weight is probably a sign that, as a society, we are overly focused on our physical appearance. There may be different explanations behind searching for weight loss tips and advice, for example when we are exposed to images of successful, wealthy and slim people that may make us feel insecure about the way we look.
There may also be genuine reasons to search for ways to lose weight, for example for medical reasons. However, in such cases the best course of action is to speak to a medical professional first. Search results for weight loss will likely not be suitable for many people, at times they could even be triggering so this whole topic has to be treated carefully and sensitively.
The questions about weight are:
- How to lose weight fast
- How to lose belly fat.
Both questions are problematic but the question about belly fat is particularly troublesome, because our bodies are not designed to shed weight in a targeted way. Yale Scientific put it simply: it is a myth that our bodies are able to do ‘spot reduction’ of fat. For example, it quotes a study among tennis players, measuring their dominant and non-dominant arm. The study found that the subcutaneous layer of fat was the same in both arms, regardless of muscle tone. Any fat loss is therefore generalised and fat that is broken down through exercise comes from anywhere in the body, not a specific part, and its by-products enter the bloodstream for fuel.
The question about losing weight “fast” is also pointing out the fact that the person asking it wants to find shortcuts such as fad diets. WedMD, among other sources, reminds us that any diet or supplement that promises fast results can be dangerous. Weight loss is a complex topic and requires consulting with a professional as well as a long term commitment. The market for weight loss products, though, is very lucrative and it is estimated at $33 billion a year in the U.S.
Language and Grammar
Quite a few questions relate to languages as well as grammar.
- What is the meaning of
- What is an adjective?
- What is a noun?
- How to pronounce
- What is a verb?
There are also prompts to use Google Translate to look up a word or sentence in a different language. In the United States, a popular search question is “how to pronounce”.
Made to Measure
Units of Measurement
Questions about converting units of measurement are particularly popular in the United States, where imperial measurements are used instead of metric units.
- How many ounces in a cup?
- How many ounces in a gallon?
- How many liters in a gallon?
- How many ounces in a pound?
- How many grams in an ounce?
- How many cups in a quart?
- How many quarts in a gallon?
- How many centimetres in an inch?
These types of queries often relate to cooking recipes. On a similar note, a popular question is also how long to boil eggs for.
Meaning of Life
People are not just searching ways to get slimmer or richer (or who is the wealthiest person in the world): they are also doing a bit of soul searching.
It might be surprising to find these questions in the list of most Googled:
- Where can I find happiness?
- What is love?
This is just a selection of questions, but it can give us some ideas of the way we think. Questions tend to change over time and it will be fascinating to see what will be trending in the next few years. Let’s hope that meaningful questions will still be there while others about quick lifestyle fixes and fad diets will become obsolete.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2021 Paola Bassanese