But what can they tell us about Christmas time in Australia?
The humble pav is the most-searched Christmas dessert
If Google searches are any indication, the pavlova is more popular around Christmas than pudding or trifle.
The pav also gets a search bump in late January around Australia Day.
Interest in the traditional Italian Christmas sweet bread panettone and the French buche de Noel cake, favoured by the Vietnamese, also spike in December, but are eclipsed by the traditional Australian Christmas favourites.
There are some interesting regional differences too — interest in Christmas pudding is highest in Tasmania.
This does not mean that the greatest number of searches for Christmas pudding come from Tasmania, but that searches for Christmas pudding as a percentage of all searches are highest in Tasmania.
Pavlova searches are also highest as a proportion in Tasmania, while buche de Noel is highest in NSW, panettone highest in Victoria and trifle highest in the Northern Territory.
Searches for school results and sport also spike
Every summer, a reliable set of Google search terms spike as Australians look for information about popular Christmas desserts, school results, Hanukkah and the Boxing Day Test.
Is Christmas pudding more popular than the Boxing Day Test?
Last summer, search interest in the Boxing Day Test were clearly higher than searches for Christmas pudding, NSW school results and Hanukkah.
Does the Boxing Day Test trump the Australian Open?
Comparing three big summer sporting events — the Boxing Day Test, the Sydney to Hobart yacht race and the Australian Open — shows interest is highest in the tennis.
This mirrors a survey by sports market research firm EY Sweeney Sports and Entertainment, which found 36 per cent of Australians are interested in the Australian Open and 11 per cent nominate it as their favourite sporting event, up there with the AFL grand final.
‘Paleo puddings’ and ‘wreath pavs’ are on the rise
Google Trends data also points to how interest in Christmas rituals can change over time.
It shows the tradition of sending Christmas cards is on the way out, but interest in Christmas stamps is going up.
The Secret Santa present is more popular than ever, while searches on “teacher thank you” presents did not spike as a Christmas search term until 2011, but interest has kept growing since then.
Likewise, paleo Christmas puddings and wreath pavs only became a thing in 2013 and have continued to grow in popularity since.
About this story
- All data is drawn from the Google Trends tool. Google Trends takes a sample of all Google searches and measures the popularity of a search term across time and location.
- It normalises the data to show, using an index out of 100, the interest in that search term as a proportion of all searches on all topics at that time and location.
- Combining Google search terms shows how much interest there is in the terms relative to each other.
- The data has been normalised to account for higher Google search numbers recently.