Why were cornflakes invented? Where am I? These were Google's trending searches of 2019

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(File, Justin Sullivan/Getty)
(File, Justin Sullivan/Getty)

Ever wondered why cornflakes were invented? Well, you wouldn't be the only one, as it turns out that this particular enquiry was one of the top Google searches in South Africa during 2019 and the past decade.

Google on Wednesday announced the results of its 2019 Year in Search, providing a unique insight into the year's major moments and top trends based on searches conducted in South Africa.

Search trends information is gleaned from data collated by Google, based on what South Africans have been searching for and asking Google this year. Google processes more than 40 000 search queries every second. This translates to more than a billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide.

"This year's trending searches show South Africans' keen interest in the world and people around them. Pop culture, sports and politics captured the nation's attention. Nine of the 10 top trending search terms were for local people, news and events," Google said in a statement.

"The top questions list reflects this strongly - with eight of the top 10 questions related to local happenings. From the Rugby World Cup to load shedding, elections and James Small, South Africans use Google to find out about the things that really matter to them."

'Why were cornflakes invented?'

So why were cornflakes invented? Well, according to news.com.au, John Harvey Kellogg invented cornflakes in 1878 in the hopes that plain food would stop people masturbating. Kellogg produced the cereal in the late 19th century and marketed it as a "healthy, ready-to-eat anti-masturbatory morning meal".

Now you know.

Some of 2019's top searches included: What time is the Rugby World Cup final? How many votes for a seat in Parliament? How did Cameron Boyce die? How long is a rugby match? What is Bosasa? What time do voting stations open? Who won the election in South Africa? What is media? What is teenage pregnancy?

The 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, in which South Africa beat England 32-12 in a thrilling final, piqued a lot of interest, as did the general elections held in May.

'Where am I?'

Google also unveiled what the top searches of the past decade were, which yielded some random and surprising results.

These include: How to make slime? How to get rid of belly fat? How to lose weight in 3 days? Where am I? How many weeks in a year? How to create an email? How to grow hair fast? What is depression? How to draw eyebrows?

A disparate list if there ever was one.

The top 10 trending searches included "election results", "Thanos", "IEC", "Fiona Viotti" - the Bishops teacher who was accused of having sex with pupils – "Black Friday Specials", "Gavin Watson" - the controversial Bosasa boss who died in a car crash on August 26 – "Mark Batchelor", "Teacher's Day" and "Hoërskoel Driehoek" – where a concrete slab above a corridor linking two blocks of buildings at the school fell on 26 pupils, killing four and injuring several others in February.

And as South Africans are still reeling from a week of rolling blackouts as the crisis at Eskom intensifies, it might not be surprising to learn that the top trending search term of the decade was... "load shedding".

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