10 years of Irish Googling: what we searched for

Death, sex and a bargain. That’s the world around us pretty much wrapped up, don’t you think?

Photograph: Tony Avelar/Bloomberg

Photograph: Tony Avelar/Bloomberg

 

Death, sex and a bargain. Strictly in that order. That’s what we have been most interested in online over the past 10 years, according to Google. The internet company, which is marking a decade in Ireland, has been looking at what Irish people have used its search engine for.

We’ve wanted information on lingerie models, have an unhealthy interest in Pippa Middleton’s gluteal muscles, and haven’t forgotten Thierry Henry’s transgression. But our most frequent questions to Google are: What is equity? What is love? and What is Nama?

The old Holy Trinity of the GAA, Fianna Fáil and the Catholic Church is nowhere to be seen. Kim Kardashian, dubstep – a type of dance music popular with young people, m’lud – and Ryanair are the new troika.

When Google arrived in Dublin it employed a total of five people in a small office on Earlsfort Terrace, off St Stephen’s Green. It now employs more than 2,500 people in a big bouncy castle on Barrow Street, by Grand Canal Dock. When they’re not getting head massages and pedicures and being fed cake, they run the biggest Google office outside the US.

The Irish and Google got off to a good start in 2004. We kept up the pretence of the land of saints and scholars for a while by searching for topics such as Bloomsday and asking intelligent questions about Javascript and Bluetooth.

But within a year we had moved our attention to Celebrity Love Island and Kate Moss. In 2005, near the height of the boom, we were asking: What is counselling? In 2006 we were searching for Bebo and YouTube (and still very interested in Celebrity Love Island). Twink also surfaced as a person of major interest. The year 2007 was all about Facebook and Skype, and Polish websites made an appearance.

It had already become clear that we are far more interested in sport than politics. Olympics, World Cups, European Championships, Ryder Cups and Rugby World Cups are all widely searched for. The only high-ranking political query, over the whole 10 years, was the Lisbon Treaty – the ninth-most-searched-for topic of 2008.

We have also liked to search for Ryanair, Ikea Dublin, DoneDeal and media players, from the RTÉ Player to Netflix. And it seems we just can’t enough information about property tax.

The top question we’ve put to Google this year is: What is Snapchat? Last year it was: What is love? In 2011 it was: What is Pottermore? (The answer: it’s a Harry Potter website.)

We also seem to have a morbid interest in celebrities. With the exception of 2012, when we searched most for Katie Taylor, and 2011, when we searched most for Pippa Middleton, the people we have used the search engine to look for each year have been celebrities who have died. Cory Monteith, Gerry Ryan, Heath Ledger and Katy French have all topped this macabre chart. We’re also fascinated by famous people suffering from misfortune or tragedy, such as Lance Armstrong and Oscar Pistorius.

Not one Irish politician figures in the top 10 people searches over the past decade. The only politicians to get a look in have been Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela, Sarah Palin and Margaret Thatcher.


google.ie/about/birthday

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