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Google celebrates 20 years in Australia: the milestones, the searches, quantum computing and more
OCT 05, 2022
Mel Silva, the MD of Google Australia, has published an extensive blog post celebrating the company's journey, starting with one employee in 2002, to over 2,000 local Googlers in 2022, providingly nearly $67 billion in annual economic value to Australia, alongside a range of other notable achievements, and a whole lot of interesting searches - read on!
Google is celebrating 20 years of operation in Australia in a blog post written by its Australian MD, Mel Silva, which we've reprinted in full below:
It’s been 20 years since Google landed Down Under, and while our mission has remained the same, our place and work in Australia has evolved over time. The Australian team started in a lounge room in 2002, with just one employee. We now have over 2,000 local Googlers, with about half of us supporting our engineering work, and through our apps and services, we now provide nearly $67 billion in annual economic value to Australia.
From capturing the wonder of Ulu?u-Kata Tju?a National Park via Google Maps Street View and exploring the tales of Aussie sport with Great Sporting Land, to helping small businesses Grow With Google and backing the nation’s innovators and non-profits with Google.org, we’ve partnered with communities to create solutions, and share important information and ideas with the world. We’ve built products that have scaled to the world – including Google Maps, which started right here in Sydney. And we’ve teamed up with over 1.6 million Aussie businesses, large and small, to help them thrive online and reach the world.
Partnerships have been at the heart of our work in Australia, and is core to the Digital Future Initiative – Google’s $1 billion commitment over five years to create jobs and foster innovation in Australia, including teaming up with CSIRO to protect our reef and investing in Quantum computing.
Throughout our journey over the past 20 years, Google Search has been a constant. Aussies have turned to Search to learn and let curiosity run wild, so here are five themes that have defined the past two decades of Search in Australia:
We’re hungry to learn it all
Aussies are renowned for our ‘DIY’ (do it yourself) spirit, and these searches hit an all-time high during the pandemic (May 2020). We’re clearly crafty, searching for DIY blinds, face masks, wedding invites and Christmas decorations. And we’ve looked to learn – how to draw, tie a tie, play guitar, and how to build a cubby house, pizza oven, dog kennel and more. We were also adventurous in the kitchen, with top trending ingredients over the past five years including tomahawk steak, scallops, brisket, sago pearls, lobster tail, tempeh and bone marrow.
We’ve been following the pandemic, politics.. and we’re nuts for sport
Our top news searches spanned sectors and borders. A defining moment in our history, ‘Covid’ topped the list, followed by ‘Trump’. Our obsession with sport shone through, with ‘AFL’ and ‘NRL’ ranking third and fourth, while ‘Arsenal’ and ‘F1’ news also landed in the top 10. Looking further afield, we also searched for news about Ukraine and China.
The natural world is our concern
In January 2020, searches for ‘bushfires’ and ‘air quality’ reached record, all time highs, and overall, ‘bushfire’ and ‘flood’ have dominated natural disaster searches in the last two decades. This year’s rainfall across the East Coast resulted in the second highest spike in interest for floods in Google history – after the 2011 Queensland floods. And as we grapple with La Niña, more people searched ‘when will the rain stop’ in March 2022 than ever before. Our concern with climate change also peaked, with climate anxiety searched 5.5x more in the past five years.
Charity and sustainability are on our minds
Australia is the top nation searching for charity shops, and we’re curious to know if op shops sell everything from pots, books, door beads, perfumes… and even underwear. We also looked up sustainable transport, recycling and searched electric cars more than ever before.
We dare to care
A keen interest in self care was captured in our searches – from its definition and importance, to looking up self care plans, activities and boxes. We also looked into self care for nurses, social workers, men, mums and teachers. In line with the pandemic, new modes of healthcare were on the agenda too, with interest in ‘telehealth’ peaking in March 2020.
We’ve had fun along the way - including searching for things like ‘time travel’ and ‘space travel’. We enjoyed surprises on Search too, as we acknowledged Aussie icons and moments with Doodles, including the Sydney Opera House, Arthur Boyd, NAIDOC Week, and Cecilia May Gibbs. We gave a tribute to Fairy Bread, and kept an eye out for the ever-mysterious Drop Bear.
Caption: A snapshot of Google Doodles in Australia over the years including; the Opera House (2003), Arthur Boyd (2010), Cecilia May Gibbs (2013), The Great Barrier Reef (2017), Steve Irwin (2019), Australian firefighters (2020), and Pearl Gibbs “Gambanyi” (2021)
It’s certainly been an amazing 20 years for Google in Australia. A huge thanks to all our amazing Aussie Searchers, Partners, Customers and Googlers! Here’s to the next 20!
To dive into the past two decades in more detail, check out the lists below:
Top ‘how to’ searches in Australia
Top DIY searches in Australia
Top searched terms alongside “news” in Australia
Natural disasters with the highest search interest:
Top items searched with “do op shops/charity shops sell…” in Australia
Top questions on self care in Australia
Top searched “self care for …” in Australia
Top searches for “how to build (a) …” in Australia
Top trending ingredients alongside “how to cook” (past five years vs. previous five years)
Top searched types of travel in Australia
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