Actor Johnny Depp topped Google’s list of trending people in 2022.
The company released Wednesday its “2022 Year in Search — Themes and Insights” report, with data that it says reflects the year’s trending topics, meaning the searches that received a significant increase in traffic over a sustained period of time this year compared to last year.
Depp won his defamation case against his ex-wife Amber Heard in June. Heard was the third top trending person on Google Search this year.
The Depp-Heard trial also took a prominent spot in users’ search history this year. Depp sued Heard for defamation in 2019 after she described herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse” in a 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post. The trial began in April.
A jury found that Heard defamed Depp and awarded him $15 million in damages. Heard was also awarded $2 million in compensatory damages for her $100 million countersuit against Depp. The verdict in the trial was the ninth top trending news topic.
Google’s 2022 list also showed there was high interest in the Oscars moment when Will Smith slapped Chris Rock after the comedian joked about the actor’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. The incident landed at No. 8 on the top trending “news” category.
Smith and Rock were second and seventh on the top trending “people” category. Jada Pinkett Smith was also featured in the trending “actors” category.
U.S. users also expressed interest in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, specifically looking for ways to help people in Ukraine. Three of the top trending “How to help” searches included “How to help Ukraine?” “How to help Ukrainian refugees?” and “How to help Ukraine army?”
Ukraine was also the sixth on the general “searches” category and third on the top trending “news” category.
Many were also curious about niche internet trends this year. According to Google, “more than ever before,” the world searched for “goblin mode” (which Oxford Dictionaries named Monday as its word of the year). People also wondered “what is web3,” which is short for Web 3.0. CNBC described it as a “hypothetical, future version of the net based on blockchain technology.”
Andrew Tate, the self-described “success coach” who has been criticized online for what many see as misogynistic advice, topped Google’s 2022 category for trending “who is …” questions.
Google Trend data showed that interest in Tate grew in May and spiked in August, around the time he was banned from Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and YouTube for violating each platform’s community guidelines. He was also the eighth top trending person on Google.
One of the internet’s biggest 2022 debates — “are there more doors or wheels in the world” — ranked as the top trending or searched worldwide. A New Zealand rugby league manager first posed the divisive question in March, asking people on Twitter: “Do you think there are more doors or wheels in the world?” His tweet went viral, and the debate bubbled over to TikTok, where people used #DoorsVsWheels and #wheelsvsdoors hashtags to explain which side they were on.
My mates and I are having the STUPIDEST debate…
And I am here for it.
Do you think there are more doors or wheels in the world?
— Ryan Nixon (@NewYorkNixon) March 5, 2022
In the gaming sphere, the popular online puzzle Wordle was the top trending game worldwide and in the U.S., according to Google Search. Wordle, which The New York Times purchased in January, is a seemingly simple puzzle, giving users six tries to guess a five-letter word that resets every day. There is no hint offered to start, but with each guess, the tiles turn green if the letters are in the right spot, yellow if they’re in the word but need to be moved, and remain unchanged if the letter is not in the word.
Wordle was also the top trending general “search.” The game was so popular that it inspired a number of unofficial spinoffs. Four offshoots also made the top trending “games” category: Quordle, a version of Wordle that challenges players to solve four word puzzles at once; Heardle, a game that gives users six tries to guess a song; Worldle, a guess-the-country game that also gives users six tries; and Nerdle, a math equation guessing game.
But the biggest breakout search worldwide?
According to Google, the question most people wanted answered this year was: “Is the multiverse real?”