Google's top 2021 searches: Squid Game, COVID-19 vaccine, Bernie Sanders' mittens

Afghanistan, Pete Davidson, and stimulus checks were just a few of the most searched terms on Google in 2021.
Written by Jonathan Greig, Contributor on

Google released a list of the most-searched topics on its platform in 2021, revealing billions of people were looking for more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, the death of DMX, the Netflix show Squid Game, and more. 

Globally, Google found that the most popular news searches this year involved Afghanistan, which dominated headlines for weeks in August as the US ended its 20-year involvement in the country. Stock advice about AMC and Gamestop also was in the top five news topics searched. 

Alec Baldwin and Pete Davidson topped the list of actors, while athletes like Tiger Woods and Simone Biles led the way in sports. Marvel films like Eternals, Black Widow, and Shang-Chi were the top searched movies. 

DMX, Gabby Petito, and Marília Mendonça were the most searched deaths of 2021. 

Google also broke down trends by month, revealing that terms like "doomscrolling," "US Capitol," and "sea shanties" were the most searched terms in January. 

Google noted that -- thanks to US Senator Bernie Sanders -- searches for "mittens" reached an all-time high in January. "Vaccination volunteer" was the most searched for volunteer opportunity, while US presidential inauguration poet Amanda Gorman was the most searched poet worldwide. 

February saw millions of searches for news about the devastating winter storm that hit Texas and the break-up of popular duo Daft Punk. March searches were dominated by people looking for information about Oprah Winfrey's interview with British royals Harry Windsor and Meghan Markle.

Global "where can I travel" searches were three times higher in 2021 compared to pre-pandemic levels, Google found, adding that US searches for "road trip" were higher than ever before in 2021. 

"How to help Afghanistan" and "How to help Haiti" were both trending searches in August while terms like "impact of climate change," "Suez Canal," "sustainability," and "mammography" saw all-time high searches throughout 2021. 

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