A truly unprecedented time to be alive


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During these unprecedented times, we’ve experienced an unprecedented increase in the use of the word ‘unprecedented’. According to Google Trends, popularity of the word in search terms spiked to a significant new high in the final week of March this year before falling off steadily to date. 

Searches for ‘unpresented’ also spiked globally, and while at first it seemed that this might be proof that English literacy levels are lower than we might’ve hoped, further investigation revealed that the full search term was in fact ‘unpresented cheques’, of which there are undoubtedly a fair few knocking around, or not, as the case may be, right now. Mostly in Tanzania, apparently. Actually, who even uses cheques these days?

The seemingly most unprecedented places to be alive at the end of March by a fairly long stretch was Singapore, followed by Jamaica, New Zealand, Trinidad and Tobago and Nigeria. Popularity of Google searches including the word in the UK were lower, coming in 14th place at nearly half the frequency as Singapore, with the US trailing in 18th place. So if you think that things are unprecedented over here, the situation in Singapore would surely blow your mind.

Curiously, in September 2019 a small spike in the frequency of searches containing the word seems to point at another unprecedented event in the past, albeit on a much smaller scale. After all, the unprecedented times we’re living through now are unprecedented on a level never seen before. An unprecedented level, if you will. 2020 has officially set a new precedent in unprecedentedness.

If you’ve not taken a look at Google Trends before, click here and take a look. It’s fairly self-explanatory, but you can track data for the most popular search terms over time, and – unsurprisingly – there’s currently an entire section of the website focussing on coronavirus-related searches. For instance, at the time of writing people in the USA seem particularly concerned about a pug with coronavirus (up 2000%) and less specifically a dog with coronavirus (up 650%) and, of course, a canine coronavirus vaccine.

Other fascinating Google Trends derived statistics include banana bread being the most commonly searched recipe in the United States. We’re unable to comment as to whether this is a result of unprecedented banana stockpiling or as a result of bananas being a previously unpopular choice in supermarkets, causing an abundance of over-ripe bananas going cheap. If you’ve got any friends over there, please let us know…

Russ Atkinson
Russ Atkinson
Russ joined Factory having completed his degree in Graphic Design at The Arts Institute at Bournemouth. Handling the rare combination of a mastery of both words and images, Russ lends his writing skills to his overarching responsibility for design and production scheduling. Russ loves building BMWs of both the 2 and 4 wheel variety.

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