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Rugby World Cup and Happy Valley among top UK Google searches of 2023

Sarah Lancashire starred in Happy Valley which was the top TV search on Google in the UK in 2023 (Ben Blackall/BBC/PA)
Sarah Lancashire starred in Happy Valley which was the top TV search on Google in the UK in 2023 (Ben Blackall/BBC/PA) Sarah Lancashire starred in Happy Valley which was the top TV search on Google in the UK in 2023 (Ben Blackall/BBC/PA)

The Rugby World Cup, Happy Valley and blockbuster movie Oppenheimer were among the top Google searches of the year in the UK, the tech giant has revealed.

According to its annual Year in Search data, “when is the Coronation?” was the most commonly asked ‘when’ question of the year, ahead of “when does Love Island start?”.

The death of Friends star Matthew Perry was the most searched for celebrity death of the year, and the most popular ‘how to’ Google search of 2023 was “how to watch the Champions League Final”.

And in the year discussions around artificial intelligence (AI) went mainstream thanks to the rise of chatbots such as ChatGPT, “What is generative AI?” – the technology behind such chatbots – was the most googled AI-related question of the year in the UK.

Google’s data revealed that the Women’s World Cup was the second-most searched sporting event, after the Rugby World Cup and ahead of the Ashes, while Tommy Fury was the most searched for athlete, ahead of England men’s football captain Harry Kane.

Sam Smith was the most Googled musician, with Arctic Monkeys second and Lil Tay third – Taylor Swift was named tenth on the list, just behind UK Eurovision entry Mae Muller.

Happy Valley
Happy Valley Sarah Lancashire starred in Happy Valley which was the top TV search on Google in the UK in 2023 (Ben Blackall/BBC/PA)

In films, Oppenheimer was just ahead of Barbie and Guardians of the Galaxy, while Happy Valley was the top TV search ahead of The Last Of Us.

Matt Cooke, head of Google News Lab, said: “As we reach the end of 2023, it’s refreshing to be reminded of everything we enjoyed throughout the year – which otherwise had its fair share of challenging moments for the UK and the world.

“From David Beckham’s return to the spotlight, to Barbie vs Oppenheimer, to the highs of England’s sporting successes, we’ve had moments to keep us smiling despite difficult times.”

Alongside its top searches for 2023, Google marked its 25th anniversary this year by revealing its global top 10 most searched for terms ever, with the Great Wall of China leading the list.

That was followed by searches for Let It Go by Idina Menzel – the main song from animated movie Frozen – climate activist Greta Thunberg, Mount Rushmore national memorial and Abbey Road.

Canadian singer Drake, Disneyland, anime TV series Naruto: Shippuden, Marvel superhero Deadpool and Martin Luther King Jr completed the all-time top 10.

“As Google celebrates its 25th birthday, it’s also been fun to take a trip down memory lane with our all-time most searched list, seeing Drake taking on The Beatles, and interest in some of the world’s most ancient attractions still going strong,” Mr Cooke said.

“It’s also incredibly inspiring to see the stratospheric rise of Greta Thunberg capturing hearts and minds across the world, and the enduring legacy of Martin Luther King Jr doing the same.

“As always, we’re thrilled that people worldwide continue to turn to Google when they want to learn, discover, explore, or simply sing along to their favourite Disney films.”