Matt Hancock one of 2021's most Googled people
Memes of the former Health Secretary were also among the UK’s most popular searches
Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock has been revealed to be one of the most Googled people in the UK in 2021.
“Matt Hancock memes” was the most popular search of its kind for 2021, after his time as health secretary was cut short when leaked CCTV footage showed him kissing an aide – breaching social distancing rules he had helped to establish during the UK’s coronavirus lockdown.
Mr Hancock was also named the top trending political figure of the year, ahead of new US president Joe Biden, who entered office in January, and fellow US politician Bernie Sanders.
Piers Morgan was the fourth most searched-for person on Google in the UK this year, the tech giant has revealed.
The former Good Morning Britain host lost out to teenage tennis star Emma Raducanu, in third, who he claimed “couldn’t handle the pressure” of competing at Wimbledon earlier this year, a comment that caused backlash online.
But Morgan was Googled more times than actor Alec Baldwin, who was fifth, and rapper Travis Scott, sixth, both of whom are facing lawsuits in the US.
Comedian Sean Lock was on the top 10 list of all terms searched for, following his death from cancer in August, according to the end of year report.
Banana bread recipes and Matt Hancock memes were among the UK’s most popular searches on Google in 2021.
The technology giant announced the results of its “year in search” on Wednesday and among the findings were top 10 lists for recipes and memes.
Memes only kept people occupied during the pandemic for so long, and the popularity of searches for recipes and ideas illustrated how people were filling their time.
Banana bread recipes – a staple of the lockdown kitchen – held firm in 2021 and locked out the top recipe search, while sourdough starter recipes failed to rise higher than 10th.
Drinks recipes meanwhile enjoyed stirring success with cocktails such as sex on the beach and pornstar martinis mixing it with Pimms and iced coffee.
And when it came to a shortage of ideas, the UK turned to Google for help working out what to do on their birthday.
“Lockdown birthday ideas” came in at number one in the ideas charts, “30th birthday ideas” taking bronze on the podium and “lockdown valentines ideas” in eighth position.
With more time spent at home in lockdown, many appeared to turn their attention to outdoor improvements too – with “pergola ideas” the second-most popular search of its kind and “garden ideas UK” also making the top 10.
Euro 2020 influenced a number of Google’s lists, with football anthems Sweet Caroline and Three Lions featuring in the trending song lyrics list.
As fans returned to football grounds when lockdown restrictions lifted, the Premier League became the second biggest trend of the year, Google said, ahead of Denmark star Christian Eriksen, who is now recovering after suffering a cardiac arrest during his country’s Euros game with Finland.
The top trending searches of the year are those which had a high spike in traffic over a sustained period during the year, compared to 2020, Google said.
The Covid vaccine, the death of Prince Philip, former health secretary Matt Hancock and US Open champion Emma Raducanu also made the top 10 trending list alongside the murder of Sarah Everard, England’s Euros semi-final with Denmark and the comedian Sean Lock.
New British tennis star Raducanu, who made her debut at Wimbledon before becoming the first British woman to win a grand slam since 1977 at the US Open, was second on the trending athletes list and third on the trending people list.
According to Google’s data, the Covid-19 vaccine was the top trending news story of the year in the UK, ahead of Matt Hancock resignation, and Sarah Everard, who was murdered by Wayne Couzens, a serving Metropolitan Police officer, and sparked a national debate on violence against women.
The withdrawal of British and American troops from Afghanistan; the spike in the stock price of US retailer GameStop – driven by Reddit users; the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse and the death of YouTuber Gabby Petito were other stories on the trending news list.
“Is Facebook down?” was revealed as the most asked question of the year, ahead of a similar query about WhatsApp, with “When will lockdown end?” in third.