‘When will the rain stop?’: Australia’s most searched words on Google in 2022

<span>Photograph: Joel Carrett/AAP</span>
Photograph: Joel Carrett/AAP

Australians searched for “floods”, “La Niña” and “when will the rain stop?” more than any other country in the world in 2022, according to Google.

As a year of floods and wet weather hit large parts of the eastern seaboard, Google recorded more searches for “mould” in Australia than ever before.

Related: Australia has second wettest spring on record, with parts of country coldest in decades

Search interest in floods in Australia increased by 200% compared with last year and search interest in La Niña has increased by 80%, Google said.

As the world became quickly and in some cases fleetingly obsessed with the daily puzzle game Wordle, it topped Australia’s searches for the year.

The top 10 overall searches were:

1. Wordle

2. Australian Open

3. World Cup

4. Shane Warne

5. Ukraine

6. Novak Djokovic

7. Ashes

8. Ash Barty

9. Olivia Newton-John

10. Betty White

The Russian invasion of Ukraine dominated the news search results, just ahead of Australian election results.

While the Covid-19 pandemic dominated searches in the previous two years, it slipped out of the top 10 overall, and “Omicron symptoms” was just number three in news searches. Monkeypox also featured in searches for news, as did Japanese encephalitis.

Indigenous schoolboy Cassius Turvey, who was allegedly murdered in Perth in October, was the most-searched person in news results for 2022.

The new prime minister, Anthony Albanese, was the third-most searched Australian in 2022, just behind tennis champions Ash Barty and Nick Kyrgios. The new opposition leader, Peter Dutton, was 10th on the list.

Djokovic’s Australian Open drama at the start of 2022 saw him catapulted to the top of searches for global figures. The tennis star was deported in January on the grounds that a recent Covid-19 infection did not justify an exemption from Australian rules at the time requiring visitors to be vaccinated. His three-year ban has since been overturned allowing Djokovic to compete in the 2023 Australian Open.

Johnny Depp, Amber Heard, Will Smith, and King Charles also featured in the top 10.

Of the public figures who died in 2022, Shane Warne was most-searched, followed by Olivia Newton-John, Betty White and Queen Elizabeth II.

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Australians were more interested in the Australian Open than any other sport in 2022, followed by the World Cup, the Ashes, and the winter Olympics.

People were most interested in trying to understand why Russia was invading Ukraine, and why petrol and lettuces are so expensive, as well as what is causing cryptocurrency to drop in value.

While Covid-19 might have slipped down the ranks, when people were looking for Covid-19 information they were asking whether people can get Covid twice, how long it lasts, whether dogs can get Covid, what the symptoms are, when boosters are available, and how many people have died from the disease.

While in previous years in the pandemic, people were asking how to make masks, this year people returned to more traditional crafts, asking the search engine how to make paper poppers, pom poms, friendship bracelets, ninja stars, paper cranes and paper flowers.