The Christmas and New Year holidays are strange. It’s so easy to lose track of time (apart from the day we return, triumphant and half a stone heavier, to the office), and there are never enough biscuits.

Millions of us turn to the web at this most wonderful time of the year, scrolling through sales bargains and deciding where we’d like to go on holiday in 2024.

It’s at this point we should all take a moment to remember Larry Page and Sergey Brin. No, they’re not members of a Seventies rock band, former football stars, or ex-EastEnders.

They are the founders of Google: the company behind the world’s most used search engine, which responds to more than 8.5 billion requests worldwide. Every. Single. Day.

The curtain may be coming down on 2023, but there’s still enough time to look at what we all googled during the past 12 months (Emma: shoes, Anne: holidays, Scheenagh: chocolate), and review 25 years of Google search.

Ready? Let’s go.

What did we search for in 2023?

Humans are a curious bunch and the internet puts a lot of information at our fingertips. In the UK alone, more than 94% of us turn to Google for answers to our most burning questions.

Let’s take a look at the top search trends across several different categories and find out what the general public was itching to find out. It could be rocket fuel for your business.

News: bad boys dominate

If you’re looking for diversity and inclusion in the 2023 search results, spoiler alert: you’re not going to find it. Male figures dominate almost every list, particularly sport and news.

When it came to the latter, the top four names (Huw Edwards, Phillip Schofield, Russell Brand and Andrew Tate) all hit the UK headlines for, shall we say, less-than-positive reasons.

In contrast, the bottom six included Tommy Fury, Harry Kane, Gary Lineker and David Beckham, some of the UK’s biggest sports stars. Marvel actor Jeremy Renner, who was hurt in a snowplough accident (only in America), came in at number 10.

The sole woman to make the top 10 was model and activist Mama Cax, who died in 2019. She popped up thanks to Google creating a Doodle for her in February 2023 as part of Black History Month.

Sport and athletes

Male sport stars and athletes took the lead in 2023 UK-based Google searches, with footballer Lauren James the only female figure, coming in at ninth place.

Tommy Fury and Harry Kane popped up again, alongside Carlos Alcaraz, Declan Rice and Jake Paul, reflecting the breadth of sports people searched for online, from boxing to football and tennis.

International stars Kylian Mbappe, Moisés Caicedo, Luis Diaz and Damar Hamlin (the US NFL player who had a heart attack in the middle of a game) rounded out the top 10.

On the small screen…

Happily, there’s a lot more diversity and inclusion on display in the top 10 search results covering TV shows.

The final series of Sally Wainwright’s drama Happy Valley came top, with Sarah Lancashire and James Norton beating off stiff competition from global smash hit The Last of Us. (Sorry Pedro Pascal).

Creepy drama The Rig, as well as Ginny and Georgia, Top Boy and The Long Shadow followed, while The Sixth Commandment, Daisy Jones and the Six, Idris Elba’s dishy detective Luther and the mind-bending Black Mirror completed the top 10.

…and the silver one

You could be forgiven for thinking a Google search list for 2023 would only have two films. Sure enough, Oppenheimer and Barbie top the ranking in first and second place, respectively.

Yet 2023 saw UK movie lovers search for plenty of kick-ass films. Also among the top 10 are Guardians of the Galaxy, Everything Everywhere All at Once, The Menu, and Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon.

Keanu Reeves’ John Wick 4, the bonkers Cocaine Bear, Bank of Dave and Creed 3 proved UK audiences weren’t completely dazzled by the Barbieheimer phenom, and actually craved a bit of variety (we’re looking at you, Marvel and DC).

In Memoriam

Awards show social media audiences may flip out if someone famous is missing from any list of recently departed stars, but Google’s UK search results were intriguing.

Presumably compiled before the death of Shane McGowan (see what we mean? There’s always someone left off), Friends star Matthew Perry, rock legend Tina Turner and the inimitable Sinead O’Connor took the top three places.

Much-loved star Paul O’Grady, as well as Ken Block and Bobby Charlton, follow, while disgraced celebrity Rolf Harris, S Club’s Paul Cattermole, Michael Gambon and Lisa Marie Presley complete the top 10.


Veteran singer songwriter Cat Stevens (also known as Yusuf Islam) makes a surprise appearance at number six in Google’s run-down of music-themed searches from 2023.

The top five are Sam Smith, Arctic Monkeys, Lil Tay, King of TikTok Lewis Capaldi and Shania Twain.

Following Cat are fellow veteran Lionel Richie, S Club 7, Eurovision heroine Mae Muller and the woman who bends national economies to her will: Taylor Swift.

Sports events

We love our sport in the UK and 2023 was a bumper year for people obsessed with balls of all sizes and shapes.

Surprisingly for a year in which both the Men’s and Women’s World Cups of football took place, neither made it to the top search spot. That fell to the Rugby World Cup, though the women’s footie tournament came second.

In third place came The Ashes. We’re still figuring out the rules of cricket at 24 fingers, but we like the fact it’s the only sport that stops for tea and cake.

Football dominated the bottom half of the top 10, with the Men’s World Cup, FA Cup, Champions League, Euro Qualifiers and Carabao Cup.

Golf made it to ninth place with the epic 2023 Ryder Cup win for Europe against the US.

How to…

This is arguably the most interesting category, as it offers a real insight into what UK searchers were up to. If the first two questions are anything to go by, watching the telly was a major preoccupation.

How to watch the Champions League final and how to watch Jake Paul vs Tommy Fury? Came in at places one and two. People looking for ways to watch The Last of Us in the UK, and watch KSI vs Fury reached number six and 10, respectively.

How to turn off emergency alerts came in at number three, while four and five were How to get My AI on Snapchat and how to get rid of Snapchat AI? Go figure.

UK searchers also wanted to know how to prevent bed bugs (eiuw) and how to breed a Shugabush. We see all you My Singing Monsters players…

For business owners (or disgruntled lovers), the eighth-most searched for question in the UK could be of genuine interest. It was: How to block someone on TikTok?

…and when

The final category in the breakdown of what UK internet users searched for in 2023 is another mixed bag. Topping the list was the question: when is the Coronation?, followed by the equally important When does Love Island start?

Tommy Fury’s bouts against Jake Paul and KSI took up places three and five, with a query about the dates for Eid al-Adha in between.

UK searchers also asked Goole about the date for the Coronation concert, and when Queen Elizabeth II died. The final three queries in the top 10 were ‘when was Israel created?’, ‘when are the train strikes?’, and ‘when do England ladies play next?’.

So, that’s a run-down of 2023 in search. But has what we have searched for changed much since Google’s massive engine was created? Let’s take a look.

A mine of search information

In the 25 years since the verb ‘to google’ was born, unimaginable amounts of data have been generated. Information that goes beyond even the most inventive marketer’s wildest dreams.

Google has used some of it to put together a trends time capsule, revealing what the world has been curious about (and obsessed with, if we’re completely honest) across several categories.

They include the usual stuff, such as video games and TV shows, but also take in more niche searches for dog breeds and sauces.

From Solitaire to sauce


Looking at the top spot for card games, from 1999 to 2003, Pokemon was king of the castle, before poker had a 10-year run from 2004.

Yet from 2014 onwards, we’ve all become Billy No Mates, as Solitaire has held the top spot. What does that tell businesses and marketers about the behaviour of potential buyers in that particular field?

The sauces category is another good one. How many condiments can you think of right now? Four, five, maybe six at a push?

Would it surprise you to know that one sauce has held the top spot as the most-searched flavour on Google since 2004?

You would be correct to assume it is tomato but imagine the competition going on for the rest of the top 10. It’s the foodie equivalent of nine cats fighting in a bag…

Spellbinding screens

As you might expect, the number one place for the movies category reflects the big blockbusters of the year, from watching Daniel Radcliffe grow chest hairs in Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, to Twilight – be still Scheenagh’s beating heart.

But during the 2010s, Marvel-based superhero films dominated the top spot, before Frozen II hit cinemas in 2020. It just goes to show that a quality product will buck a solid trend and drive consumer engagement.

The TV shows category also reflects the robustness of consumer demand, with Game of Thrones topping the list for years, while The Simpsons remains the most-searched television series over the past 25 years. Cowabunga man.

Delivering for business

So, what does all this information essentially mean? Give your customers quality and consistency, and they will keep coming back for more.

There have been a lot of fancy schmancy things said about Google’s performance in its first 25 years. The simple fact is, it has kicked arse – with bells on.

We can’t wait to see what it’s got in store for the next 25, particularly how changes such as AI will affect (and help) UK business owners.

If you want to get the most out of Google’s technology to grow your business, talk to us. We’re fast, friendly and big fans of crunching those numbers.