“Search behaviour is getting more advanced,” Google Sweden head analyst Jonas Wallentin told The Local.
“Rather than the generic terms, there are questions and search phrases that are more specific,” he said after Google Sweden unveiled 2012’s most searched terms.
“I also think the results show that what happens in the media and in the world drives the searches.”
While most searches were navigational searches to other websites, many Swedes chose to ask Google questions – some of which came as a surprise to the Google team.
“One search that really baffled us was ‘How does a sea lion sound?’ which came in on the top ten list for searches beginning with ‘how’,” Wallentin said.
“It took us a while to get to the bottom of it, but we think a children’s health website caused the surge when it suggested that if child’s cough sounds like a sea lion then they have the croup.”
Other common ‘How’ questiones were ‘How do you say… in English’, ‘How does Instagram work’ and ‘How do you make out’.
For the most searched words nationwide, Facebook came in first place, followed by newspaper Aftonbladet. YouTube came in third and buy-sell site Blocket fourth (full list below).
Swedes also proved to be an inquisitive bunch, using the search engine to seek answers to specific questions.
Among searches beginning with the word ‘What’, the most common question was ‘What time is it?’ followed by ‘What is love’ and ‘What is Instagram’.
Other trending terms revealed that Swedes have a sweet tooth.
“The food list was filled with sweet things,” Wallentin chuckled when asked what surprised him most about the list.
“Pies were popular, there were four kinds in the top ten food searches. 2012 was definitely a pie year.”
Wallentin added that he was not surprised that ‘sex’ failed to make the top ten in any searches.
“It didn’t make it in the top ten and hasn’t for the past three years. Sex comes in the top 50, but it doesn’t move much. It stays constant year to year.”
The people who topped the highest trending list for the year were Big Brother contestant Hanna Widerstedt, Eurovision winner Loreen and glamour model Carolina Gynning.
Top songs included Korean hit Gangnam Style, Loreen’s Euphoria and Boys Don’t Cry, and top artists included Justin Bieber, Rihanna and One Direction.
Wallentin said that Sweden’s lists were the first to be released in the world, and that global data would follow next week.
Top ten searches on Google 2012: