April 2019 was a simpler time. Americans wanted to know what a black hole was, who was playing in the Final Four and how many episodes of “Game of Thrones” there were.

This April, we suddenly need to know how to make masks, and millions more are searching for how to file for unemployment. There are some constants in life, though: We still need help nailing the perfect boiled egg.

We compared top Google searches during the same weeks in 2019 and 2020 to see what has and hasn’t changed.

How to
  • get through the outbreak
  • make a mask
  • make hand sanitizer
  • apply for unemployment
  • get through the outbreak

How to

  • stay safe
  • make a mask
  • make hand sanitizer
  • cut your own hair
  • stay safe

Most common Google searches beginning with “how to” from April 5 to 11.

2019

2020

Train Your Dragon 3

make a mask

make hand sanitizer

take a screenshot

tie a tie

boil eggs

take a screenshot

draw

change PSN name

file for unemployment

make French toast

Get Away With Murder

cut your own hair

make slime

pronounce

make whipped coffee

lose weight

make buttermilk

solve a Rubik’s cube

change background on Zoom

delete Instagram

draw

boil eggs

watch Trolls 2

lose belly fat

get free Robux

write a check

delete Instagram

scan a network for hidden cameras

dye Easter eggs

Near-duplicate searches have been consolidated. For instance, “how to make a face mask” is

combined with “how to make a mask.”

2019

2020

Train Your Dragon

make a mask with fabric

also: Train Your Dragon 3

also: make a mask, make a face mask with fabric, make a mask with a bandana...

take a screenshot

also: screenshot on a Mac, take a screenshot on a Mac, screenshot on Windows

make hand sanitizer

boil eggs

tie a tie

also: hard boil eggs

take a screenshot

draw

also: screenshot on Mac, screenshot on

Chromebook

also: draw a rose

file for unemployment

change PSN name

also: apply for unemployment

Get Away With Murder

make French toast

also: Get Away With A Murderer

make slime

cut your own hair

pronounce

make whipped coffee

lose weight

make buttermilk

solve a Rubik’s cube

change background on Zoom

delete an Instagram account

draw

boil eggs

watch Trolls World Tour

lose belly fat

get free Robux

write a check

delete Instagram

scan networks for hidden cameras

dye Easter eggs

A pandemic introduces new necessities. Face masks are recommended and in some places required and hand sanitizer is in short supply. So people are searching for instructions on how to do it themselves.

We’re still trying to take screenshots (especially on Macs!), quit Instagram and learn to draw. To pass the time, we’re learning how to make some suddenly trendy foods — like whipped coffee — as well as classics like French toast.

At least we’re no longer searching for how to “scan networks for hidden cameras.” April 2019 didn’t feature a sudden influx of secret agents: the search was probably inspired by an Irish family that found a camera live-streaming from their Airbnb.

Where
  • to find what I need
  • to buy toilet paper
  • did covid-19 come from
  • is my stimulus check
  • to find what I need

Where

  • to find what I need
  • is toilet paper
  • did covid-19 come from
  • is my stimulus check
  • to find what I need

Most common Google searches beginning with “where” from April 5 to 11.

2019

2020

is my tax refund

am I

am I

the Crawdads Sing

to buy toilet paper

is my tax refund

did coronavirus come from

is Auburn University

is Xur

the Crawdads Sing

is Texas Tech

is Xur

is the Final Four

to buy cloth face mask

were Bonnie and Clyde killed

the Wild Things Are

is my federal tax return

is Coachella

is your appendix

is Joe Exotic now

the Wild Things Are

is my stimulus check

to eat near me

the heart is

the knife points on the treasure map

are the Ozarks

to watch Trolls World Tour

is Baylor University

is the Grand Canyon

is Ozark filmed

Near-duplicate searches have been consolidated. For instance, “where is my state tax refund” is

combined with “where is my refund.”

2019

2020

is my refund

am I

also: my refund, is my state refund, is my federal refund, is my tax refund

also: am I right now

the Crawdads Sing

am I

also: am I right now

is my refund

to buy toilet paper

also: my refund, is my state refund, is my federal refund, is my tax refund

also: can I buy toilet paper, to buy toilet paper online, to find toilet paper

is Auburn University

did coronavirus come from

also: is Auburn, is Auburn basketball team from

also: did the coronavirus come from, did covid 19 come from, did covid-19 originate,

is Xur

the Crawdads Sing

is Texas Tech

is Xur

is the Final Four

also: is the NCAA championship game being played

to buy cloth face mask

also: to buy face masks, to buy masks

were Bonnie and Clyde killed

also: did Bonnie and Clyde died, was Bonnie and Clyde killed

the Wild Things Are

is Coachella

is my federal tax return

is your appendix

is Joe Exotic now

the Wild Things Are

is my stimulus check

to eat near me

the heart is

the knife points on the treasure

map

are the Ozarks

to watch Trolls World Tour

is Baylor University

also: can I watch Trolls World Tour

is the Grand Canyon

is Ozark filmed

The new where-to searches in 2020 focus on finding goods like toilet paper and face masks. Money is also a top concern. Tax refund checks were at the top of the list in both years, and stimulus checks are a major question in 2020.

Big group events — remember those? — feature prominently in 2019′s searches. Google users wanted to know the locations of Auburn and Texas Tech, two of the men’s basketball teams in the Final Four, as well as the location of Baylor, the champion of the women’s bracket.

At-home entertainment, on the other hand, hasn’t changed much. Joe Exotic from “Tiger King” swapped out for Bonny and Clyde from 2019′s “The Highwaymen.” Otherwise, books like “Where The Crawdads Sing” and “Where The Wild Things Are” are still popular, as is the mysterious merchant Xur in the video game “Destiny 2.”

What is
  • the new normal
  • Zoom
  • a virus
  • furlough
  • the new normal

What is

  • the new normal
  • Zoom
  • a virus
  • furlough
  • the new normal

Most common Google searches beginning with “what is” from April 5 to 11.

2019

2020

my IP

Good Friday

a black hole

Passover

the weather

my IP

today

today

Zoom

CBD

pansexual

the weather

keto diet

Quibi

EPO

a Prince Albert

autism

coronavirus

lupus

the 2020 census #census

5GE

TikTok

gluten

furlough

Brexit

love

OnlyFans

WikiLeaks

lupus

Similar searches have been consolidated. For instance, “what is Easter” was combined with “what is Good Friday.”

2019

2020

Good Friday

my IP

also: my IP address

also: Palm Sunday, Easter

Passover

a black hole

the weather

my IP

also: the weather today, the temperature

also: my IP address

today

today

CBD

Zoom

also: CBD oil

the weather

pansexual

Quibi

keto diet

a virus

EPO

a Prince Albert

autism

lupus

coronavirus

5GE

the 2020 Census #census

TikTok

gluten

Brexit

furlough

love

OnlyFans

WikiLeaks

lupus

Passover and Easter fell earlier in 2020 than in 2019, driving searches about both holidays. Other searches reflect the new normal: video calls on Zoom, furloughs from work, and constant advertisements for the short-form video streaming app Quibi.

Some of 2020′s searches veered toward the adult, a sign of many bored adults trapped at home. A platform called OnlyFans, a subscription service popular with adult entertainers, gained traction, and searches for Prince Albert piercings went up, possibly because of Joe Exotic.

If the days blend together while staying at home, take heart: We also lost track of time in 2019. The fourth most common what-is search in both 2019 and 2020 was “what is today?”

How many
  • people have covid-19
  • covid-19 deaths
  • ounces in a gallon
  • deaths on 9/11
  • people have covid-19

How many

  • people have covid-19
  • covid-19 deaths
  • ounces in a gallon
  • deaths on 9/11
  • people have covid-19

Most common Google searches beginning with “how many” from April 5 to 11.

2019

2020

3s in the image

ounces in a gallon

ounces in a gallon

ounces in a pound

cases of coronavirus in the U.S.

weeks in a year

episodes of The Act

ounces in a pound

people are in the world

people live in the U.S.

feet in a mile

have died from

coronavirus

people did Bonnie and

Clyde kill

weeks in a year

kids does Nipsey

Hussle have

countries are there

people are in the world

countries are there

people died in 9/11

calories in a banana

animals are going towards the river

miles is a 5k

episodes of Game of

Thrones are there

feet in a mile

people die in the U.S. every day

calories in a pound

triangles

people live in the U.S.

people die from the flu

letters in the alphabet

Measurement conversions and similar searches have been consolidated. For instance, “cups in a gallon” is combined with “ounces in a gallon.”

2019

2020

ounces in a gallon

3s in the image

also: ounces in a cup, cups in a quart, quarts in a gallon, cups in a gallon, oz in a gallon...

also: eye test how many 3s

ounces in a gallon

ounces in a pound

also: ounces in a cup, cups in a quart, oz in a gallon, tablespoons in a cup, oz in a gallon...

also: grams in an ounce, grams in a pound, oz in a pound, pounds in a ton

cases of coronavirus in U.S.

weeks in a year

also: how many coronavirus cases in U.S.

also: days in a year, hours in a year

ounces in a pound

episodes of The Act

also: grams in an ounce, oz in a pound

people are in the world

people live in the U.S.

feet in a mile

people have died from coronavirus

also: steps in a mile, feet in a yard, square feet in an acre, inches in a foot...

also: how many deaths from coronavirus

weeks in a year

people did Bonnie and Clyde kill

countries are there

also: countries in the world, countries are in the world

kids does Nipsey Hussle have

people are in the world

countries are there

people died in 9/11

calories in a banana

animals are going towards the river

miles is a 5k

feet in a mile

episodes of Game of Thrones are

there

also: steps in a mile

people die in the U.S. every day

calories in a pound

people live in the U.S.

triangles

The bulk of 2020′s how-many searches involve the scale of the pandemic. Americans search for how many people have the virus and how many people have died. But they also search for comparisons, asking how many people are in the United States, how many died on 9/11 and how many die on a normal day.

Some of most common searches in 2020 are viral brain teasers, which ask readers to count 3s, triangles and animals — again, we are very bored. But questions about the scale of the pandemic drive out other concerns, like episodes of TV shows, calorie counting and celebrity gossip.

How can I help?

When disaster strikes, people search for how they can help. Searches for “how can I help” spiked in late March and early April of 2020, surpassing the number of searches after Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston.

April 2020

Covid-19 pandemic

August 2017

Hurricane Harvey

100

January 2020

Fires in Australia

June 2018

Immigrant family

separation

0

2017

2020

April 2020

Covid-19 pandemic

August 2017

Hurricane Harvey lands in Houston

100

January 2020

Fires in Australia

June 2018

Immigrant family

separation policies

0

2017

April 2020

Google Trends measures search volume using a scale from zero to 100. One hundred indicates the week where the most people searched for the phrase “how can I help."

If you want to help during the pandemic, we have some ideas. Stay safe, and keep searching.