Wednesday, April 17, 2024

    Wordle is 2022’s top Google search term

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    Wordle was the most-searched term on Google search in 2022, both in the United States and across the world, according to the Google Trends Year in Search roundup. The game beat out terms like “election results” and “Jeffrey Dahmer” in the United States (the 2nd and 10th most popular terms, respectively) and “Ukraine” and “Queen Elizabeth” globally (3rd and 4th).

    “This really became a shared obsession for everyone and you can see that in the data,” Simon Rogers, trends data team lead at Google, told The Washington Post.

    Wordle is a daily vocabulary game, similar to Jotto or Mastermind, in which users are given six guesses to figure out the word of the day. All players get the same word (which is determined by an editor at the New York Times) and can play only once per day.

    The game became a viral hit in late 2021 after players started sharing cryptic emoji square arrangements along with a snippet of text (usually the word Wordle, followed by the number of the puzzle) on social media, prompting others to ask: “What’s Wordle?” On Jan. 31, the New York Times Company purchased Wordle from its original developer, the programmer Josh Wardle, for an undisclosed “low-seven figure” sum.

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    Readers dismayed to learn that Wordle outperformed other, weightier subjects on Google search can take solace in the fact that its placement at the top of the list came from people searching the term year-round. A Trends comparison of the terms Wordle, Queen Elizabeth II and Ukraine shows higher average interest in Wordle throughout the year, but also peaks during momentous, news-making weeks when the other terms dominated.

    “I would say what made Wordle trend higher was that it was something that consistently captivated people throughout the year,” Rogers said. “There were moments within the year such as the invasion of Ukraine and the passing of Her Majesty the Queen where those terms spiked much higher. But people’s love for the game remained consistent, because for many people, the game has been a daily highlight or pick-me-up.”

    Five-letter Wordle answers also made up the bulk of the top Google searches for word definitions in 2022. Of the top 10 searched-for definitions, Google identified seven as Wordle answers: cacao, homer, canny, foray, trove, saute and tacit. The top trending definition was also a five-letter word, and a Wordle answer in March: rupee, a name for the currency used in several South Asian countries, including India. In its roundup, Google did not mark rupee as a Wordle-related search. Oligarch and recession rounded out the list of the top 10 words for which users sought definitions.

    “I think it’s a testament to just how much Wordle took the world by storm in 2022,” Rogers said. “You simply can’t overstate it!”

    In the U.S., 2022’s top trending Google searches were:

    1. Wordle
    2. Election results
    3. Betty White
    4. Queen Elizabeth
    5. Bob Saget
    6. Ukraine
    7. Mega Millions
    8. Powerball numbers
    9. Anne Heche
    10. Jeffrey Dahmer

    Globally, the top 10 Google Searches were:

    1. Wordle
    2. India vs England
    3. Ukraine
    4. Queen Elizabeth
    5. Ind vs SA (a cricket match between India and South Africa)
    6. World Cup
    7. India vs West Indies
    8. iPhone 14
    9. Jeffrey Dahmer
    10. Indian Premier League

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