As it does every year, Google Trends recently released its Year in Search study for 2018, mapping search engine trends over the last 12 months around the planet. While the football World Cup unsurprisingly dominated search terms worldwide, some unique local data piqued the interest of the Brazilian media.
Besides the public report, Brazilian weekly television show Fantástico was given access to further studies into the most asked questions by the country’s netizens throughout 2018.
With the specter of high unemployment hanging over Brazil, and labor legislation making work more and more precarious, the leading questions asked around the country generally concerned the topics of careers, personal development, and emotional intelligence.
Google analyzed the most commonly asked “how to” questions from Brazil’s 27 states, throwing up some curious results. In the country’s most populous state of São Paulo, among the most queried terms included “how to be happy,” “how to become an Uber driver,” and “how to be a police officer.” In neighboring Rio de Janeiro, netizens went for a more aesthetic approach, asking Google “how to be a model” and “how to be beautiful.”
Google users in Brazil’s Northeast produced arguably the most peculiar results. In Bahia, there was a notable surge in searches for “how to be good in bed,” while citizens of Pernambuco state, known for its glorious weather and warm, friendly people, wanted to know “how to be cold.”
While there were many terms related to job performance and professional development, among them “how to be a good salesman” and the far more straight to the point “how to be rich,” residents of the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul went in the opposite direction, with “how to get fired” appearing among the most popular terms in the region for 2018.
The most searched “what” questions in Brazil were largely defined by the 2018 general elections. The country saw huge spikes in people asking “what is fascism” and “what is military intervention,” no doubt sparked by the debate around the presidential campaign, in which eventual victor Jair Bolsonaro was often dubbed as a “fascist” and segments of his supporters promoted the idea of another military intervention, 54 years after the coup of 1964.
The Union of Latin American Socialist Republics (URSAL) also got a significant popularity boost last year, thanks almost entirely to fringe presidential candidate Cabo Daciolo, who denounced the “organization” during a live debate. According to Mr. Daciolo, URSAL is a secret cabal of Latin American socialists who seek to end national sovereignty in the region, creating one large socialist state. This, unfortunately, or not, is nothing more than a conspiracy theory, but it didn’t stop Brazilians from trying to find out more.
Finally, Google’s study also went into the most popular “why” queries typed into its engine throughout 2018. On a national level, once again the election was a determining factor in netizen’s search behavior. “Why vote for [Jair] Bolsonaro” was among the most popular, particularly in the states of Santa Catarina and Rio de Janeiro, where he received significantly large portions of the vote. With Mr. Bolsonaro having won the election in October, it would appear these Google users found satisfying answers.
On a regional level, the study uncovered the pessimism of citizens living in the state of São Paulo, which recorded a massive spike in searches for “why is Brazil a backward country.”