Popular online search terms give us an insight into the lives of others

When it comes to thinking about trends, the fruit aisle of Lidl seems as good a place as any to start. 
Popular online search terms give us an insight into the lives of others

I was walking along last week minding my own business (literally — I was trying to figure out what to write this column about) when there they were: the pomelos.

Pomelo: I didn’t know of its existence until a week ago. If I had to guess, I would have thought it was French-o for an apple-lo but lo and behold it’s not. It’s a completely different fruit.

Large, yellowish, packed in a hairnet, with a skin that you could insulate an attic with, they’re like an orange if the orange was in a dream being described to you by someone who’s telling you about their dream even though no one cares about hearing other people’s dreams: “Do you want to hear about my dream yeah I was eating an orange only it wasn’t really an orange and then we were in our old house at home but it wasn’t our own house because there was a savannah in the sitting room and you were Jimmy Carter and ….”

2015 is the year where apparently, pomelos have had a bit of a moment. (Like steam-cleaners. You turn your back and then suddenly you can’t move for steam cleaners. They were in Lidl a month ago)

I know this because Google have just released their list of things Irish people searched for in 2015.

Searched online that is, the list of things we searched for physically would be the same every year: 1) car keys 2) phone 3) phone to ring your phone 4) voucher that you finally remembered to use. 5) coin for the trolley.

It’s a useful metric to see what is exercising the minds of the nation.

The third most searched-for “How to” in Ireland last year was “How to eat pomelo”. Unfortunately Google doesn’t have the capability yet to mind read and find out why people are searching for it.

I would love to know what sparked the pomelo curiosity? Did people buy a pomelo thinking it was a grapefruit and then realise they had some sort of alien fruit on their hands and wonder what to do with it?

Other popular search terms give an insight into the lives of others.

“How to make pancake mix” was googled by people who don’t know their mother’s phone number. The fourth most popular was googled “how to draw a minion”.

In 2014, it was simply “How to draw”, which just confirms what we all suspected: that virtually EVERYTHING is now branded with minions.

The main difficulty in drawing a minion is how to find a surface you can draw on which doesn’t already have a minion printed on it.

I think we reached peak minion when they endorsed the Kaarcher Window Vac. I imagine we are only days away from the minion steam-cleaner.

Marginally less popular a search was “how to bleed a radiator”. Google doesn’t give stats for the follow up search of “how to get the black stuff off that the radiator has spat out on to wall and carpet”

Trying to get clues on how a nation thinks based on Google searches is an inexact science but it does give an idea on trends.

Last year “How to shift” was in second place, whereas it’s nowhere to be seen now. Instead, the ninth most searched for “how to” this year was “how to get rid of hickeys fast”.

I don’t think they want to put a pharmacy chain out of business, they mean lovebites. So clearly young people, armed with the shifting knowledge they got last year, are moving on.

God only knows what they’ll be searching for next year — sado-masochism or something.

Not speaking of which, I am now stuck with a pomelo, but thankfully, like everyone else in the country apparently, I know exactly how to eat it.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

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