Google's 'Year in Search' for 2022 Spotlights Hope and Change

Themes of recovery emerge as Covid recedes

Leaning into the year's search trends, Google's annual wrap-up focuses on themes of rebirth, personal growth and optimism following a lengthy pandemic malaise.

Developed by Google's Brand Studio and Trends Data team, the campaign's two-minute anchor film asks, "Can I Change My Life?" It features everyday folks and celebs shrugging off doubt and adversity as they strive to improve and evolve.

Google — Year in Search 2022

Retiring sports icons Serena Williams and Roger Federer appear. Lizzo makes an impassioned speech while accepting an award. Images of Ukrainians resisting Russia's invasion flash on screen, followed by footage of Brits mourning Queen Elizabeth. Around the halfway mark, Katya Echazarreta, the first Mexican-born woman in space, stresses that through hard work and perseverance, metamorphosis is possible, and big dreams can come true.

Google ECD K.K. Walker describes the project as "our annual love letter to the world, a celebration of our shared experiences throughout the year. The last two years have been unusual, and the stories of those years very much reflected that. This year, we saw that people are searching for new possibilities, both personal and professional transformation."

Searches such as "Can I Change," "Work Life Balance," "How to Be More Social" and "How to Start" hit record highs, Walker says. "These insights shaped this year's film, which shows how we've all come to 2022 changed in some way ... We've turned a page on the last two years and are looking toward new possibilities."

As ever, Google's year-ender captures the cultural zeitgeist, serving as a companion piece of sorts to Spotify's annual "Wrapped" campaign. Both efforts crunch data points and put events in sharp, personalized perspective. These initiatives have become signposts, allowing us to take stock of the past 12 months and vault ahead with a fresh perspective.

In case you were curious, queries for "Wordle," "Election Results" and "Betty White" topped Google's U.S. searches in 2022. And for the first time, the company offers a local trends roundup, searchable by ZIP codes and cities. Influencers get into the action, too, with Eric Sedeño and Brittany Broski providing outreach.

"We wanted to expand this year's campaign to feel even more authentic and [highlight] the shareable nature of our work, so we went all in, creating a number of different social assets to help us tell the story," Walker says. "From working with creators for the first time to running immersive ads that allow people to dive into various trends, we developed multiple channels of engagement that reflect our core values of inclusivity and connection."

David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is managing editor at Clio Awards.

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