While this is the time for plenty of “year end reviews” here is one directly from the people via Google Trends — part of the creepy tech universe, along with Facebook, dating apps and various cookie-collecting websites, that knows us better than we know ourselves, perhaps even better than the U.S., Russian and Chinese intelligence services know us.

Now remember, that this is anyone who ran searches on Google that Google can identify as having their search emanate from a person located in Honolulu. This includes lots of tourists, military members, children old enough to spell and people who don’t search Google using English language queries.

Googe Trends tracked the “rising” searches for 2017. These denote trends out of the usual searches and tend to be more insightful than the “top” searches for the year. The rising searches are what differentiates 2017 from all prior years.

A top Google query from Honolulu: Captain Underpants.

It’s a lot of data, and these are just some observations and interpretations on the data.

Primarily people are asking for information for things that they don’t know about, but not necessarily. Feel free to browse Google Trends yourself. It’s open data.


In a state that’s generally rated with good physical health and longevity of life, queries related to rat lungworm and mumps make up six of the top 10 slots for rising search queries for 2017. Under “Men’s Health” the  rising search query is “frigid” and “porn induced erectile dysfunction.”

Hmm, are men looking up men’s health topics or are women?

The top ranked rising search query under “Women’s Health” is “JUUL pods.” Women/children who are trying to vape but need to plug into a USB port, maybe? And need it to look like a thumb drive or Sharpie to sneak into school, maybe? Apparently mango is the top-selling flavor (hint, hint, Department of Health).

Men definitely didn’t google the second-ranked query: “ectopic pregnancy.” Dunno where that came from. Call UH to do a study on that one.

Then there’s the paradox of what people are looking to eat. The top-ranked rising search query in the “Food and Drink” category is “Cheesecake Factory Kapolei” — with “unicorn frappuccino” coming in at No. 3. Dunkin’ Donuts-related search queries were also in the top 10.

However, if you look under “Beauty and Fitness” searches you’ll find the rising search subjects in that category are “Fifty Shades Darker-Film” and “Miss Universe Pageant-Topic” — in that order. Chew on all that for a while.

On the subject of mental health, Google listed its No. 1 rising mental health search query for Honolulu as “histrionic personality disorder.”

Oddly, “douglas chin” is the fourth most queried in the category of mental health. That one may forever remain a mystery to all but the Google Analytics team. Perhaps people are worried about the stress of the cases on the attorney general … who knows.

Primarily people are asking for information for things that they don’t know about, but not necessarily.

But I do also sense some anxiety among the populace as well. This is noticeable when you skip over to the top-rising News queries of 2017, because four of the Top 10 are North Korea-related. That and “spectrum hawaii,” which means our new cable company is causing people to do a lot of Web searching. Calling customer service?

And “Bitcoin” is a top-ranked rising search topic in the News category. Lots of people trading Bitcoin to try and make ends meet for the New Year?

Gambling is alive and well in Hawaii thanks to Bitcoin and online stock trading. Lay off the fighting cocks and fire up the laptops people!

You can make yourself poorer at any hour of day and night from the comfort of your own home, and it’s perfectly legal! That’s my public service announcement for the new year.


On a lighter note, what about entertainment? What’s the rising search query in the category of “Movies”? (Drum roll.) And the envelope, please … the winner is … to no one’s surprise: “Jedi”-related searches currently take up the top three positions.

The top-rising “Book and Literature” search query?

“Dzuma dzuma,” which appears to be available via an app. Dzuma is a Polish word for “plague.” It stars some baby with a nose bleed. Seems dark and disturbing, but to each their own I guess.

Also deviant, yet lighter and more mainstream, “Captain Underpants-Novel Series” is one of the top-rising search topic queries in the “Books and Literature” category. It’s a story of some fourth-graders who prank “cruel teachers” and their “evil principal.” It is childish humor that has since been made into a movie by DreamWorks.

Clearly, our student-teacher relations are not all they could be for this to gain this level of interest.

“The Dark Tower-2017 Film” currently finishes just in front of “Captain Underpants-Novel Series” in the same category. It’s a Stephen King book that has been made into a movie as well.

It’s fairly “dark” too. It’s a science fantasy Western about someone who wants to destroy the universe and has a tortured hero to stop him. Lots of violence and vengeance. I guess it wasn’t all sunshine and happiness in 2017, if our Googlers are any indication.

Speaking of violence, four of the top five rising “Sports” search queries in 2017 are all Mayweather-McGregor fight-related. Thank goodness for all the Angelenos and Texans googling in Honolulu who sent the “World Series 2017” to the top of the list.

Well, I could go on forever since there is so much data, but this at least gives a little insight into the minds of people in Honolulu in 2017. Since the “Dark Side” is apparently advancing, I will try not to draw polite, yet subtle, disdain from the editors for exceeding my word count.

Lastly, everyone needs to try extra hard to be nice to everyone in 2018, ’kay?

And for your New Year’s resolution, go get that mental health checkup you’ve always wanted while you still have health insurance.

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