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Data: Google Trends; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

If you're feeling extra tired this holiday season, blame the non-stop news cycle of 2020, as visualized in Axios' fourth annual Google Trends chart.

Why it matters: From a pandemic to multi-city protests to contested elections, 2020 has been one unprecedented crisis after another. "We have never seen a year like this in Google Trends history," Simon Rogers, a Google data editor, told Axios."These were huge stories that changed how we search."

  • Because of the overwhelming volume of search interest in the broad topics of "coronavirus" and "elections," Axios left those terms out of our list.
  • We opted instead to include more specific, related topics like "masks," "Anthony Fauci," "absentee ballots" and "Joe Biden."

Between the lines: The chart again reveals how short Americans' attention span can be, with surges in Google searches often lasting only a week for a given topic.

By the numbers: Excluding "coronavirus" and "'elections," Kobe Bryant's death generated the largest spike in searches of any other single event.

  • But overall Google interest in "coronavirus" over the year overshadowed Kobe Bryant by more than 10 times, according to Google Trends data.
  • You can see COVID-19's impact on Americans' lives in a wide variety of Google search trends. Searches about unemployment, hunger and food banks were higher than ever before, Rogers said.
  • Even so, the spike in searches for "elections" around Nov. 3 was even higher than any single spike of interest in coronavirus, although interest in the virus remained high for longer.

Go deeper

Jan 25, 2021 - Technology

Google says it may have found a privacy-friendly substitute to cookies

Photo: STR/AFP via Getty Images

Google on Monday said new test results show promising signs that the technology it's hoping will replace cookie-based ad targeting is working.

Why it matters: Google and web browser rivals Apple and Mozilla have all introduced sweeping privacy changes recently that will collectively phase out cookies, an internet tracking tool that tracks users' web browsing history.

The week the Trump show ended

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Donald Trump was eclipsed in media attention last week by President Biden for the first time since Trump took office, according to viewership data on the internet, on social media and on cable news.

Why it matters: After Trump crowded out nearly every other news figure and topic for five years, momentum of the new administration took hold last week and the former president retreated, partly by choice and partly by being forced off the big platforms.

Biden: Disappointing jobs report shows recovery is a "marathon," not a "sprint"

President Biden said Friday that the disappointing April jobs report, which showed the U.S. economy added just 266,000 jobs last month, underscores the importance of the COVID-19 relief package and his other proposed spending plans.

Why it matters: Economists had expected a gain of around 1 million jobs last month, making this the biggest payrolls miss, relative to expectations, in decades.