Local search data for the month of January traditionally offers a look into peoples’ New Year’s resolution plans, with searches for gyms, healthy restaurants, winter vacations, and various forms of self improvement spiking during this month.
Unique to January 2021, this set of Google Maps search data offers a look into what people are doing when they leave the home during a time when travel is discouraged.
The data reveals people are doing a lot of the same things they do every January, with a different approach to it this year.
Instead of searching for international travel destinations, people are searching for local travel. Instead of searching for the nearest gym, people are searching for at-home workouts.
Here’s a deeper look into January 2021 Google Maps search trends.
Google Maps Trending Searches
Google’s data on trending searches in Maps compares December 2019-January 2020 vs. December 2020-January 2021 to identify which queries are up (or down) this year.
People are focused more on local travel this year than international travel.
Searches for countries outside one’s hometown stayed flat this January. This can be attributed to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
For comparison, in January 2020 Maps searches for international destinations increased by 65% over the previous month.
Searches for local bed and breakfasts have increased by 20% in January 2021 compared to late 2020, which is a sign that peoples’ travel habits have shifted closer to home instead of across the world.
Google notes that ski resorts are trending “in a big way” on Maps. Searches for ski resorts are more than twice as high as they were in January 2020. This is likely because skiing is a socially distant activity.
New Year’s Resolutions
Search trends in January have historically been representative of peoples’ New Year’s resolutions plans – such as drinking less, eating better, and exercising more.
The query “Dry January” tends to spike in January as people vow to abstain from alcohol in the month following the holiday season.
Many fewer people are taking the dry January challenge this year it seems, as searches for wine shops are liquor stores dropped by 11% and 6% compared to December. Last January searches for both queries were down nearly 40% compared to the previous month.
Eating healthy remains a priority in the month of January, as searches for “healthy” options spiked by 46% at the start of the month compared to December.
However, Google notes people’s appetite for sweets is up this year. Searches for ice cream shops are up by 10% compared to December.
Searches for fast food restaurants tend to plummet in January, but that’s not the case this year.
In January 2020 searches for fast food restaurants were down by 20% compared to the previous December. This year searches for fast food dropped by 1.5% from December to January.
Searches related to workouts and exercise remained high this year. Queries for local gyms increased by about 25% from December to January.
In what may be an example of the popularity of at-home workouts, Google says searches for hiking areas did not see their usual increase this year – a 16% increase compared to last year’s 55% increase. Local restrictions may be a factor here as well.
For more on Google Maps trends, see Google’s blog post here.
Google Home App Gets an Overhaul, Rolling Out Soon
Google refreshes its Home app with a slew of new features after launching a new Nest gear. This makes it faster and easier to pair smart devices with Matter, adds customization and personalization options, an enhanced Nest camera experience, and better intercommunication between devices.
This revamped Home app utilizes Google’s Matter smart home standard – launching later this year – especially the Fast Pair functionality. On an Android phone, it will instantly recognize a Matter device and allow you to easily set it up, bypassing the current procedure that is often slow and difficult. Google is also updating its Nest speakers, displays, and routers – to control Matter devices better.
Google Home App New Features
- Spaces: This feature allows you to control multiple devices in different rooms. Google has listed a few things by room: kitchen, bedroom, living room, etc., although it’s pretty limited right now. Spaces let you organize devices how you see fit. For instance, you can set up a baby monitor in one room and set a different room’s camera to focus on an area the baby often plays. With Spaces, you can categorize these two devices into one Space category called ‘Baby.’
- Favorites: This one is pretty self-explanatory. It allows you to make certain gears as a favorite that you frequently use. Doing so will bring those devices into the limelight within the Google Home app for easier access.
- Media: Google adds a new media widget at the bottom of your Home feed. This will automatically determine what media is playing in your home and provide you with the appropriate controls as and when needed. There will be song controls if you listen to music on your speakers. There will be television remote controls if you’re watching TV.
Google probably won’t roll out this Home app makeover anytime soon. But you can try it for yourself in the coming week by enrolling in the public preview, available in select areas.
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