Top 9 Things Austrians Googled During Quarantine

What is COVID-19? How to sew masks or bake for Easter? Is Kim Jong Un brain-dead? – frequent searches while all of us were trapped at home.

Austrians have been bonding with Google since the beginning of lockdown in March. Serving billions of users every day with an answer even to the most peculiar questions, Google has become far and away the most popular website in the world. Whether alone or in company, the search engine proves to be a right hand that opens our windows to the world.

With the help of Google’s records of past search requests and statistical data, we found a number of intriguing choices by Austrians in quarantine and have tried to recapture them for you here.

1. “What is Corona? What can – or can’t – I do?”

Not surprisingly, the Coronavirus and its effects have dominated the media. People in Austria obsessively started googling about symptoms, restrictions and tips on handling the virus-induced situation. They frequently visited worldometers.info to keep pace with the growing number of cases worldwide as well as the website of the Austrian government to get informed about local updates. And of course, metropole.at.

2. “Sew your own mask

Despite the situation, many people saw the light in creative activities. Sewing masks proved to be a practical and environmentally-friendly way of creating a personalized protective gear – both keeping busy and not spending money!  In a nod to the patchwork quilts of old, people in Austria often searched for patterns for home-made face gear, pieced together from old clothes in a riot of shapes and colours.

3. “How to make Kärnten Reindling?

Not only the new trend of masks, but also Easter preparation coloured our days of quarantine. Cooking and baking brought light into the quarantines of families and lone wolves. Around Easter the most frequent Google searches in Austria were recipes of the traditional Easter bread and Kärnten Reindling, a lightly sweetened dome of marble cake, sprinkled with powdered sugar, baked in a mould, or Rein.

4. “Kim Jong-un’s illness

Perhaps surprising, many Austrians were googling up the latest on the mystery of the North Korea’s supreme leader possible escape to the land of Yama, that kept rumour mills alive all around the world: “He is at the thresholds of death after a heart surgery.” “Is he brain-dead?” “No, it must be COVID…or, perhaps, his overweight.” Whatever it was, the excitement about Mr. Kim’s health gained him huge popularity among Austrians.

5. “Conference on Zoom and Skype

Professional life and education have been transported from offices to the virtual space. In the last few months, people in Austria sought to download and activate applications such as Zoom and Skype to conference with their colleagues. The great revelation was the discovery of how ones colleagues lived in private?  What was hanging on the wall just to the left of his head? you wondered, as you squinted to read the titles on the bookshelf.

6. “Escapism on Netflix

Money Heist, the Spanish crime drama series on Netflix commanded large Austrian audiences over the quarantine – a new take on the genre told in flash backs and time jumps by an unreliable narrator who takes us through the night streets of Madrid plotting the Big Break-In. Clearly, robbing the Royal mint is being seen as the perfect supplement to Kurzarbeit.

7. “Download Anton

Parents have faced significant challenges with home-schooling. While children enjoyed the time off, parents strived to help them do their homework, and many found support in learning applications. The most searched-for app in Austria is ANTON, offering supplementary services in German, Maths, Science, Biology, German as second language and Music for Classes 1 to 10.

8. “Escaping to Disney Plus

The children weren’t always as enthralled by ANTON as their parents, so chased boredom away by with lobbying for their favourite Disney movies. Austrian parents often typed “Disney+” to Google search to subscribe – at least until school starts again.

9. “We-are.travel

Many people in Austria got worried about vacation, closed borders, cancellation and lost money. But the gradual release of the lockdown gave hope that summer holidays might be possible after all. The most frequent travel-searches include the website “we-are.travel” that offers budget-friendly destinations abroad as well as in Austria.

(Foto credit: https://www.flickr.com/people/[email protected]/)

Dóra Wohner
Dóra Wohner started studying in Vienna in 2015. She has a great passion for arts, literature, music and cultural studies. During her BA, she spent a term at Goldsmiths University of London. She is now an MA student of anglophone literatures and cultures at the University of Vienna.

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