These are the top Google searches over the last 20 years

Posted by
Susan Devaney
backgroundLayer 1
Add this article to your list of favourites

Believe it or not, but Google has officially been around for two decades. 

In 2018, a life without Google is pretty unimaginable. How would we find our way to a new restaurant opening without the guiding hand of Google maps? How would we know just exactly how long we’re actually meant to boil an egg? And would we ever get the relevance of obscure Oscars speech references? We imagine not.

Thank goodness, then, for the search engine’s creation way back in 1998. To celebrate its 20th anniversary, we’ve pulled out the top UK searches for every year since 2005, making for a nice nostalgic step back in time. Have a look at our timeline below. 


In 2005, we wanted to know more about Janet Jackson. She had just performed at the Superbowl the year before with Justin Timberlake, and we were obsessed with her all over again.

We also had questions about Hurricane Katrina, which took hold of America for many weeks, causing chaos and dreadful fatalities.

And we all wanted to get our hands on an Xbox 360, obviously. 


One year later, and everyone’s favourite socialite Paris Hilton had released her debut album – and we, obviously, hit Google to find out more.

Did we see the financial crash coming? Because we were searching for tips on how to refinance.

And remember Borat? 2006 is the year Sacha Baron Cohen’s comedic film hit cinemas and we had many questions about the character he created. 


Apple Computer Inc. Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs holds the new iPhone in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Kimberly White/Corbis via Getty Images)

Unfortunately, this was the year in which Britney Spears had a breakdown and we closely followed her struggles online.

It was both the cricket and rugby world cups, so we were keeping score – thanks to Google.

And the iPhone was born this year, too: boy, did we all want to see/touch/hear one. 


2008 was the year that the cupcake trend took off, so naturally we searched for recipes to create our own delicious versions.

Oasis announced a UK tour and we all tried hard to get our hands on some tickets for the legendary band.

We also showed an interest in the former prime minister Gordon Brown. The financial crash was looming and we needed answers from our political leader. 


In 2009, we sat and hunted for cheap flights to anywhere (probably to try and escape the financial crash…).

We listened to Donna Summer’s I Feel Love remix – a big hit in clubs around the country.

And we had A LOT of questions about swine flu. Do you remember that outbreak? Yeah, we all do. 


Globally, we wanted to know how to donate to Haiti after a catastrophic earthquake hit the country.

We all had Justin Bieber fever as his he became the most Googled name on the planet in 2010. 

And guess what landed? The first iPad – and we all wanted one.


We read about British driver Dan Wheldon’s death following a 15-car accident at the Las Vegas 300 IndyCar series finale.

Prince William married Catherine Middleton, and we all trawled Google looking for photos of the royal wedding.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 hit cinemas and we Googled the release date so we could be first in line to see it. 


We were apparently feeling artistic in 2012, as we spent a lot of time consulting Google on how to draw.

We watched Gangnam Style several times over.

And asked: what is love? 


The Fast and Furious actor Paul Walker sadly passed away and we consulted Google to re-watch his best onscreen performances.

As the western world was introduced to the dance move, we asked: what is twerking?

And we listened to Harlem Shake – remember that tune? 


We all wanted to know how to make a great chocolate cake. Maybe we had Great British Bake Off fever?

The enigmatic street artist Banksy had secretly spray painted more walls, and we really wanted to know what he looked like.

The outbreak of Ebola had caused a fair few people to search for more details on the virus. 


It was the year that Cilla Black, a well-loved TV presenter, sadly passed away. And we watched re-runs of her hit-show Blind Date.

We listened to Adele’s first track, Hello, from her third album.

And we hunted for tips about New York before jetting off there. 


LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 27: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend an official photocall to announce their engagement at The Sunken Gardens, Kensington Palace on November 27, 2017 in London, England. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been a couple officially since November 2016 and are due to marry in Spring 2018. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Rumours started swirling that Prince Harry was dating actress Meghan Markle. Naturally, we had questions. And look at the pair now.
As our obsession with Scandi culture took hold, we asked Google how to forage and make blueberry wine.
And we all became obsessed with Pokemon Go. Obviously.


Bitcoin mania hit, and we wanted to know if we needed to get some of it.

We searched for chilli con carne recipes.

And we closely followed the news reports surrounding the tragedy of Grenfell Tower

Images: Getty / Unsplash


Share this article


Susan Devaney

Susan Devaney is a digital journalist for, writing about fashion, beauty, travel, feminism, and everything else in-between.