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Swedes ask Google: What does Yolo mean?

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Swedes ask Google: What does Yolo mean?
Swedes also googled "swag", of which artist Syster Sol arguably possesses buckets. File photo: TT
11:49 CET+01:00
Swedes became more ethnocentric this year - googling snus, fly fishing, recycling, and domestic celebs. The annual search-term data released by Google on Tuesday also found the English terms "Yolo" and "swag" up high.

YOLO, the acronym of "You Only Live Once", was among the most searched-for terms by Swedes on Google this year. The only "what" questions Swedes asked more often in 2013 were "What is swag?" and "What time is it?".

"Swag", according to a quick Google by The Local, is an abstract quality possessed by those who are cool and self-assured. 

Each year Google reveals what people look for most on the search engine. The Swedish figures were released on Tuesday, and despite the prominence of American pop-culture references, the data revealed that Swedes this year were actually quite introspective.

“In general we went from being very international last year to being much more Swedish this year,” Google Sweden head analyst Jonas Wallentin told The Local. “And we’re less confused about apps this year,” he added with a laugh. “Last year there were lots of questions about Instagram and Kik and how to use them.”

Swedish singers and TV personalities surged in popularity, last year’s American monopoly on most-Googled TV shows was overtaken almost entirely by Swedish series, and several of the most-trending questions were how to sort trash, how to fly fish, and how to use snus.

“Everything is much more Swedish-inspired,” Wallentin observed. “It varies from year to year but I guess it’s just a reflection of where we are right now. " 

Sweden is one of the most gender-equal nations in the world – an interesting fact when viewed in relation to Sweden’s Google searches. For instance, the top-ten list of most-Googled people in Sweden consists entirely of Swedish females, such as bloggers Blondinbella and Kissie and models Carolina Gynning and Magdalena Graaf. Designers and actresses are also on the list.

While their professions may seem gender stereotypical, Wallentin pointed out there may be a connection to another popular Swedish question this year – “Why do we need feminism?”

“All of these women are very strong personalities,” Wallentin said. “They’re all very successful and strong businesswomen. I wouldn’t look at them simply as bloggers. I would look at them as businesswomen in the middle of their careers.”

But while Swedishness and women may have conquered the overall searches, when it came to trending topics this year there were a few American surprises. Late American “The Fast and the Furious” actor Paul Walker shot to the top as the number one trending search term of the year. Netflix was number three, and the top trends in food were pulled pork and waffles. 

And, perhaps not surprisingly, one of the top trending questions was "What does the fox say?". But the Swedes weren't just singing along - they really wanted to know.

“They actually googled the Swedish question, 'Vad säger räven’,” Wallentin laughed.

Solveig Rundquist
Follow Solveig on Twitter.

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