So, how’s Google treating you lately? I’m no psychic but it doesn’t take a medium to figure out that all of us are searching a lot more these pandemically cloistered days than we were pre-pandemic.
What are we searching for? Things to do.
Join me on a tour of what’s trending (Google-wise, and also YouTube-wise, since it’s the same company), as millions seek to fill their extended hours at home with activities that are by turns productive and diverting, and maybe even both at the same time.
Being at home all day can only mean one thing in our all-video-all-the-time culture: binge, baby! Viewers are streaming all the doo-dah day.
PRIME TIME IS ANY TIME
Prime time in TV land is defined as 8-11 p.m. Yet Google’s research shows a 40-percent surge in streaming from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
In other words, typical TV prime time has suddenly shifted to 10 hours sooner than before. (Hey, TV-watching can be strenuous work, so don’t judge.)
Considering the onset of ennui that can stem from watching even your favorite TV programs for hours on end, is it any surprise that there’s been a 100-percent increase in searches for the word “boredom”? After all, man cannot live by Netflix alone.
To cure the boredom, among the most popular products that have been searched 100-percent more since last year are jigsaw puzzles, ping pong tables, tarot cards, gaming chairs, and 3D printers.
People don’t want to only keep busy in the friendly confines of their four walls, mind you. Moving to the great outdoors, the 100-percent increase in online searches since last year also applies to telescopes, bug collecting kits, hammocks, sidewalk chalk, firewood, water slides, and basketball hoops.
Om. That’s my shorthand for segueing to the plus-100-percent enlightened mindfulness of online therapy, evidenced by these top searches: yoga and Pilates mats, balance trainers, exercise bands, light therapy lamps, and, of course, prayer cards.
Loneliness is no laughing matter, pandemic or not. We’re nothing if not a resourceful species, however, and Google pinpoints March 1, 2020 as the first time that a new social phenomenon was coined as a search phrase: “quarantine dating.”
A BED FOR FIDO
Of course, there are other ways to connect with people (and non-people) you care about, social distancing be damned! Hence, sales of dog beds, bicycle child seats, webcams, fresh cut flowers, and party streamers benefited from skyrocketing searches for those items.
Has there ever been a better time to be handy—or to teach yourself to be handy? The answer is in the numbers. There have been 80 percent more searches for “DIY” projects since last year, and a 200-percent increase in the total time spent watching—get this, you caffeine fetishists—“coffee recipe” videos. Don’t look at me, darjeeling; I’ve become a tea lover in my golden years.
And that coffee spike has become grounds for milk froth machines also building up a head of steam.
So, what are DIYers doing for themselves 100 percent more than before, according to Google?
DIY DENTURE REPAIR
The search engine spits out these top performers—piercing supplies, carpentry and woodworking, plant and herb growing kits, pet nail tools, denture repair kits and, to lift our spirits, cocktail mixes.
As long as we’re feeding our hunger for hanging out in the kitchen, chew on this stat: recipe and cooking videos have seen a 45-percent surge in views in 2020.
What else are we frothing at the mouth about on the food front?
The 100-percent growth in searches there is for breadmakers, pasta makers, woks, beer taps, canned and jarred vegetables, and, to once again lift our spirits, homebrewing and winemaking kits.
Will the elevated interest in all the above interests continue, or subside, as we seek our way back to some semblance of normalcy?
Bruce Apar is a writer, actor, consultant, and community volunteer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 914-275-6887.