According to Mountain View, California-based multinational tech company Google, people from around the world have been asking for instructions on seemingly self-evident things such as how to or how not to get pregnant, how to make a toast, and even how to kiss.
“We have become so independent on offloading, on relieving our brains from keeping certain basic, human information in storage, that we've forgotten to do some fairly basic grown up tasks,” researchers at Google's News Lab said. (Related: Google's propaganda search engine distorts perceptions to control people's thoughts – try Good Gopher instead, a propaganda-free search portal.)
They noted that “how to” searchers have risen by more than 140 percent since 2004.
The top 10 most searched topics in the “how to” list are (in order of importance):
The researchers worked with data journalist Xaquin Gonzalez Veira and mapped out a diagram that talked about in detail what most people needed help in their lives with. People mostly needed help with fixing things around the house, the researchers found out.
“We looked at what things we need the most help with around the house, from the simplest how-to-fit-a-bulb kind of fixes, to those fixes for which we know we need a professional, but our ego makes us take upon ourselves to at least try,” de Veira said.
When it comes to asking for help in doing household chores, Google learned that North Americans and East Asians require the most help in fixing toilets, while people from former Soviet countries are most concerned about fixing their washing machines.
“North Americans and East Asians need their toilets, people in former Soviet countries are fearless enough to attempt fixing their own washing machines, warmer climates can't live without a fridge,” he added.
De Veira said that queries about doors, walls, and windows – how to fix them, what materials would be most suitable for making them, etc. – were the most searched items when it comes to household maintenance in almost every country.
When it comes to cooking inquiries, people were asking the most mundane and elementary questions, Google found out. Such include how to hard boil eggs, cook rice, and cut a mango. Other questions make more sense to ask help with, such as how to make jello shots, poach an egg, make ice cream, make pizza, cook spaghetti squash, bake a potato, make pizza dough, cook a turkey, make fried rice, make sushi, make an omelette, make buttermilk, make scrambled eggs, make pasta, make lasagna, and make mashed potatoes.
And then there's all this love stuff; questions on dating and romance that are asked by mostly teenagers between the ages of 12 and 21 (but which are still pondered on by people in their 30s). Google's top love questions are:
People also ask about boring, grownup, mandatory stuff. This includes questions on how to make money, write a resume, write a check, start a business, write a letter, write a cover letter, save money, get a passport, write an essay, change your name, and tie a tie.
Some other more specific questions that people ask include how to get rid of fruit flies, crochet, calculate grade point average (GPA), calculate percentage, make a paper airplane, solve a Rubix cube, divide fractions, learn English, make a bow, be happy, play poker, draw anime, play chess, tie a scarf, play guitar, tune a guitar, French braid, get rid of ants, write a book, get rid of bed bugs, get rid of fleas, make a GIF (graphics interchange format), and measure bra size.
Health related questions (which can double as the New Year's resolutions) include how to lose weight, gain weight, get a six pack, calculate body mass index (BMI), get rid of hiccups, get rid of acne and pimples, get rid of dandruff, get rid of stretch marks, lose belly fat, meditate, lower blood pressure, fall asleep fast, and quit smoking.
“How to lose weight” searches are most high in January then peter out for the rest of the year. Other seasonal searches include “how to ask someone to the prom”, which peaks around March every year.
And then there are those questions regarding trends in pop culture. In the age of the Internet, you'd have to be living under a rock to not get familiar with viral videos, and the latest catch-phrases in television and movies. The top searches in this category include how to make loom bands and how to do the cup song from the movie Pitch Perfect, which premiered way back in September 2012.
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