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If you’ve ever taken to Google to find out how to do something, like “How to replace a car battery” or “How to make pancakes,” you’ll have noticed that Google’s predictive search smarts usually makes suggestions before you’ve come close to finishing your sentence.

Above: How to…

The suggestions may vary depending on the time of year or where you are in the world, but certain broad queries consistently crop up, according to Google News Lab editor Simon Rogers.

“Recently, we noticed that ‘How to…’ searches have increased by more than 140 percent since 2004, and much of that search interest is directed towards how to ‘fix’ things — whether it’s a lightbulb, window, washing machine, or even the toilet,” noted Rogers. “In fact, ‘How to fix…’ is consistently near the top of the list of most common queries, year after year, around the world.”

Google News Lab tapped designer Xaquín González Veira to create an interactive visual essay on the various ‘How to’ search habits of web users around the world, with the likes of “How to fix washing machines” proving particularly popular in places such as Colombia and Russia.

Generally speaking, the top 10 most searched for “How to’s” globally contain a mix of some fairly broad and complex questions, such as “How to draw,” and more specific queries, such as “How to tie a tie” — which was actually number one overall.

Here is the full top 10:

  1. How to tie a tie
  2. How to kiss
  3. How to get pregnant
  4. How to lose weight
  5. How to draw
  6. How to make money
  7. How to make pancakes
  8. How to write a cover letter
  9. How to make french toast
  10. How to lose belly fat


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