The Surprising Most Common ‘How To’ Question We Asked Google in 2017

Think about how many times a day you refer to Google for something. From checking out the menu of the restaurant you’re headed to for dinner to remembering the name of that movie with that one actor, Google has all the answers.

Thanks to the data Google pulls every year, we can have an intimate look at what people all over the world are searching for on their computers. It unifies us in a way we didn’t know existed before. Think about it: It’s comforting to know that people all over the world forget how to make basic breakfast foods and need to double check a how-to guide prior to fixing appliances around the house. Nobody’s an expert on everything, but Google fixes that.

Read on to find out the No. 1 thing we searched on Google in 2017.

15. How to ask someone to prom

Boy and Girl at prom

Everyone is looking to wow their date. | Digital Vision/Getty Images

Coming in at the bottom of the list is “how to ask someone to prom.” When you type this how-to into Google, an array of articles, videos, and stories pop up concerning “promposals.” Thankfully for teenagers, there’s no shortage of information on the subject. Unsurprisingly, Google suggests that as time goes on, young adults are turning to the web to ask this question earlier and earlier in the year as prom season approaches. “A testament perhaps to the increasing complexity of ‘promposals,’” says visual essayist Xaquín G.V.

14. How to gain weight

scale, weight loss, fitness, measuring tape

Some people are looking to bulk up. | Thinkstock

Next on the list is “how to gain weight.” There’s an abundance of information online, on our televisions, on the radio, and in our schools, among other places, on how to lose weight. To find out how to gain weight (in a healthy way), it takes a bit more digging. Tips that pop up include not drinking water before meals, getting better sleep, using bigger plates, and drinking more milk.

13. How to write a resume

Everyone needs to know how to sell themselves in a resume. | iStock/Getty Images Plus

Another query often asked by young adults, “how to write a resume,” comes next on the list. Writing a resume is an important skill that’s often not covered thoroughly enough in schools. Though plenty of colleges offer career guidance services, many students find them unhelpful, according to this Gallup-Purdue University study. Thankfully, young adults striving to enter the working world have Google to turn to when they’re unsure of basic workforce practices.

12. How to boil an egg

Boiled eggs are super easy to make. | Nirad/iStock/Getty Images Plus

What may be an obvious question to many seems to stump enough people around the world to make it into Google’s top-searched how-tos. “We have become so dependant on offloading, on relieving our brains from keeping certain basic, human information in storage, that we’ve forgotten how to do some fairly basic grown up tasks,” says G.V.

If you fall into the category of people who like to double check the accuracy of their egg-boiling technique via Google, here’s a quick reminder: Place eggs in a pot with water over high heat until brought to a rolling boil. Let them boil for 14 – 17 minutes. After that, drain the eggs, and put them in a bowl filled with ice water for easy peeling.

11. How to fix a toilet

Plumber repairing a toilet pipe

People are tying to get a little more handy around the house. | iStock.com/KatarzynaBialasiewicz

A bit more challenging than boiling an egg, “how to fix a toilet” is next on the list. “I can’t fix a toilet. Or a sink. […] I can’t fix anything around the house. My father-in-law was quite disappointed,” writes G.V. “So I search how to do everything around the house. To my relief I am not alone.” It’s much cheaper to fix a toilet yourself, rather than calling a plumber. It’s no wonder so many people tried to avoid the cost by adopting a DIY mentality when it came to toilets this year.

10. How to lose belly fat

There’s no easy fix. | Voyagerix/ iStock/Getty Images Plus

Searched more often than “how to gain weight” is “how to lose belly fat.” When you Google “how to lose belly fat,” the results go on for pages and pages. There’s no shortage of people asking, and there’s no shortage of resources trying to offer a solution. However, if their solutions were viable, it wouldn’t still be such a frequently searched how-to. Diet pills and miracle-workers aside, here’s what one of the top Google hits suggests: Eat plenty of fiber, avoid trans fats, don’t drink much alcohol, eat a high-protein diet, reduce your stress levels, and concentrate on cardio when it comes to your workout routine.

9. How to make French toast

French Toast on a white plate

French toast is a breakfast staple. | iStock.com/Jenifoto

A little more advanced than “how to boil an egg,” but less advanced than “how to fix a toilet,” “how to make French toast” comes in at No. 9. It seems breakfast foods are the most mysterious to Google users, as there are three breakfast items that made the list, but no lunch or dinner food how-to’s. Thankfully, making French toast is as easy as mixing raw egg, vanilla, cinnamon, and milk into a bowl, dipping pieces of bread into the egg mixture, and cooking them on a lightly greased skillet, evenly on both sides.

8. How to write a cover letter

woman and man at home typing on laptop

It’s slightly more confusing than writing a resume, apparently. | iStock.com/BernardaSv

Similar to “how to write a resume,” “how to write a cover letter” is another example of young adults feeling underprepared to enter the workforce. Thankfully, Google provides some pretty good tips: Begin with both your and the employer’s contact information. In the introduction, write about your knowledge of the company. In the body of the letter, sell yourself based on the qualifications the job description named. And, lastly, write a conclusion that says why you’re the best fit for the job.

7. How to make pancakes

Blueberry Pancakes

It’s a fairly simple process. | Emeldrum/Getty Images

“How to make pancakes” is the third and most popular breakfast query. If you don’t have pancake mix on hand, it’s a simple two-step process: First, in a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, milk, egg and oil until smooth. Next, heat up a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium heat and scoop your mixture onto the griddle, about ¼ cup per pancake. 

6. How to make money

Man in suit with falling money

There are few people who wouldn’t take a little extra cash. | Dean Drobot/Ghetty Images

The only surprising part of “how to make money” being on the list is that it isn’t higher up. At every age, at every stage of life, people all over the world are wondering just that: How to make money (preferably, lots of it). If you type “how to make money” into Google, you’ll find lots of articles offering “legitimate” ways to make money or easy ways to make money fast.

One of the featured articles is Entrepreneur’s 7 Realistic Ways to Make Money Online. This article features such tips as utilizing apps like Uber and Postmates, selling your stuff on Craigslist, starting a blog, and email marketing.

5. How to draw

art studio

You can learn to draw with Google. | Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

No. 5 on the list is an artistic pursuit: How to draw. Some people are more naturally gifted when it comes to drawing than others, but that doesn’t mean those without an innate gift can’t learn. Daily Mail suggests that those unable to draw cannot do so not because they’re bad at drawing but because they need to better hone their visual skills (how they perceive the world around them). “Good drawers have a more refined way of perceiving objects and putting them on the page,” says writer Ted Thornhill. So if you find yourself Googling “how to draw,” perhaps focus on your perception of the world around you before practicing basic drawing techniques.

4. How to lose weight

young healthy girl on home scales

There are countless articles on the web about this.  | iStock.com/Nensuria

Coming in before “how to lose belly fat” is “how to lose weight.” Losing weight is a broader point of focus and, as a result, inspires even more search results. Similar to the belly fat how-to, “how to lose weight” offers lots of articles offering ways to “lose weight fast,” as well as articles trying to convince readers of their legitimacy with titles like, “How to Lose Weight, According to Personal Trainers.”

3. How to get pregnant

Pregnant woman

Ask your doctor for more details. | iStock.com/Shironosov

No. 3 on the list is “how to get pregnant.” Like the resume and cover letter how-tos, the popularity of searching something like “how to get pregnant” could point to an ignorance around the subject. Fit Pregnancy quoted a Yale School of Medicine survey that showed many women between the ages of 18 and 40 are unaware of the factors affecting their fertility. They also found that 30 percent of the women surveyed never visit an OB-GYN or visit less than once a year. Google is a great resource for quick questions like how to ask someone to prom, or how to fix a toilet, but it should never take the place of a medical professional or proper sexual education.

2. How to kiss

This one’s for curious teens and tweens (or even adults). | iStock/Getty Images Plus

This innocent, sweet how-to comes in at No. 2 on the list of Google’s top searches in 2017. G.V. believes, looking at the data, that a good chunk of the most-searched how-to’s sound as if they were asked by someone between the ages of 12 and 21 (or maybe even 30). From wikihows to Seventeen’s kissing guide, Google seems happy to provide a plethora of answers.

1. How to tie a tie

Number one is oddly charming. | iStock/Getty Images Plus

The number one most searched how-to on Google in 2017 doesn’t have to do with money, it doesn’t have to do with losing or gaining weight, and it doesn’t have to do with love. In its glorious simplicity, “how to tie a tie” comes in at No. 1. To be fair, tying a tie is pretty difficult for someone who isn’t experienced in the task. Thankfully, as is the case with the rest of these how-to searches, what Dad failed to teach us, we can find on Google.

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