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Doctors, games, prayer and weather: What we search for on Google may surprise you

Google has released aggregate data showing what we're searching for and when.
/ Source: TODAY

Every time you type something into that blank search engine box, Google gets to know you a little better. And based on anonymous, aggregate data recently released by the corporation, it turns out Google has us pretty well sussed out — down to the minute.

New York Times writer Seth Stephens-Davidowitz examined the results for New York state over four weekdays and found some very definite patterns. Here's what some folks in an Empire State of mind look for:

Unblocked games

Stephens-Davidowitz credits school blocking tech for this particular spike, which happens between 8:04 a.m. and stays high through 1:30 p.m. before dropping off.

Woman using a tablet computer to cook in her kitchen; Shutterstock ID 82820371; PO: Brandon from RandeeShutterstock


Looks like it's time for dinner around 4:52, when everybody's searching for recipes. Might be a little late to start planning right then, though. (You can find tons of great ones on TODAY here.)

Weather, prayer, news

Searches for those words reach a high before 5:30 a.m. (let's hear it for early risers), while "suicide" searches are highest just after midnight, and lowest around 9 a.m.

Big questions

Metaphysics and the meaning of life tend to also attract searches in the wee hours of the morning, with questions like "Is there life on other planets?" and "What is the meaning of consciousness?" popping up.

American doctor talking to senior man in surgery; Shutterstock ID 98521079; PO: Brandon from RandeeShutterstock

Health issues

If you're up late at night, you're probably wondering what's wrong with you, based on searches: Late night is rife with searches for symptoms of heart attacks, cancer, strokes and other illnesses.


We're not surprised, you naughty folks. From midnight to 2 a.m., sex-related subjects, um, peak. Instructional-related sex searches (like "how to put on a condom"), however, tend to top out at 10:28 p.m.

Random weirdness

Surprisingly, the question "why is my poop green" is asked frequently enough to warrant inclusion. When is it asked? Between 5 a.m. and 6 and 7 p.m.

Stephens-Davidowitz did focus on New York, but pointed out that people across the U.S. tend to search in similar ways. He noted that there isn't a specific lunchtime search that ties everyone together, but over lunch in Britain people are catching up on the news; in Japan travel planning searches rise. Belgium? They love to shop over lunch.

And, as he noted, these numbers are about search rate — not actual number of searches. "If a search rate for a word is highest at 3 a.m.," he wrote, "it means that of all the searches at that time, an unusually large percentage of them include that word."

In other words, Google knows you, people. Get used to it. (Or try a search engine like DuckDuckGo that doesn't track you.)

Seriously, though: Why is our poop green?

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