The future of electrification, according to Google Trends

People are searching more often for how to electrify their lives, from induction stoves to e-bikes.

A suburb

From “induction stove” to “home EV charging,” search interest is rising.

Photo: Michael Tuszynski via Unsplash

Feeling cynical about the state of the climate? Well, it’s hardly a guarantee of a liveable climate, but a peek at Google Trends might provide a glimmer of hope.

People are increasingly ready for the all-electric future at home and on the road. From “induction stove” to “home EV charging,” search interest is rising. And while climate change is certainly not up to the individual to solve — that’s mainly on governments and corporations — shifts in public tastes can bring about policy changes. Fast. (See: outdoor dining in major cities; marriage equality.)

Protocol took a look at the past five years of search interest for a number of electrification hacks. Google Trends uses a scale from one to 100 to measure interest over time, with 100 marking the peak popularity for the search term in a given region and a given time period. For the bulk of the home and transport electrification terms that Protocol reviewed, the peak hit in the last year, if not in the last few months.

Let’s take induction stoves as an example. A type of electric cooktop, they transfer heat directly to a pan via electromagnetism, rather than first heating up the stove itself. They are by far the most energy-efficient option to heat things up. Switching from gas to induction not only speeds up cooking, but it lowers the health and safety risks of piping and burning methane gas in your house.

Induction stoves are more expensive than gas ranges. They also only account for 1% of all stoves in the U.S. While searches for both “electric stove” and “gas stove” still far outstrip those for “induction stove,” search interest has built steadily in recent years, peaking in November 2021. (In fact, interest tends to jump every November, perhaps reflecting Thanksgiving turkey — or Tofurkey — cooking concerns or stove problems.)

Interest in heat pumps, the still obscure but mighty alternative to traditional energy-intensive HVAC systems, has built as well, though more subtly. There have been major spikes around the time of major storms and hot and cold snaps. That includes peaks around January 2018’s enormous and widespread blizzard and February 2021’s cold snap that wiped out power in much of Texas. Still, search interest has noticeably increased in the past five years.

The increase in interest in electric transportation options has been much steeper than in induction stoves and heat pumps, though. This speaks in part to the fact that people tend to look into new cars and new bikes more regularly than major household appliances, as well as to the fact that EVs suddenly seem to be everywhere: in Super Bowl commercials, in President Joe Biden’s speeches, even in delivery fleets.

Electric bikes, for instance, saw a major jump in interest around the time that the coronavirus pandemic began in March 2020. While it initially leveled off in the pandemic’s first year, interest has continued to build throughout the past year, peaking last autumn.

And interest in the terms “home EV charging” and “EV for sale” have also built in recent years, particularly after January 2021. It has paralleled a surge of new EV models and the Biden administration’s forays into electrifying transit. Interest hit its peak in March of this year, soaring in dramatic fashion as gas prices hit record heights and made conventional vehicles more expensive in comparison.

Clearly the cost of both gas and electricity has been on searchers’ minds as well. Google saw a rush of searches for “electricity price” during last year’s Texas storm, and another in March of this year, in tandem with soaring fuel prices and geopolitical upheaval that left energy prices in disarray worldwide.

Search interest is an imperfect proxy for public taste, of course, but it does give us a rough sense of what people are interested in. With Google Trends showing people are looking at more electric options amid worries about rising energy prices, it’s now on companies and policymakers to deliver.


How 'Zuck Bucks' saved the 2020 election — and fueled the Big Lie

The true story of how Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan’s $419 million donation became the 2020 election’s most enduring conspiracy theory.

Mark Zuckerberg is smack in the center of one of the 2020 election’s multitudinous conspiracies.

Illustration: Mike McQuade; Photos: Getty Images

If Mark Zuckerberg could have imagined the worst possible outcome of his decision to insert himself into the 2020 election, it might have looked something like the scene that unfolded inside Mar-a-Lago on a steamy evening in early April.

There in a gilded ballroom-turned-theater, MAGA world icons including Kellyanne Conway, Corey Lewandowski, Hope Hicks and former president Donald Trump himself were gathered for the premiere of “Rigged: The Zuckerberg Funded Plot to Defeat Donald Trump.”

Keep Reading Show less
Issie Lapowsky

Issie Lapowsky ( @issielapowsky) is Protocol's chief correspondent, covering the intersection of technology, politics, and national affairs. She also oversees Protocol's fellowship program. Previously, she was a senior writer at Wired, where she covered the 2016 election and the Facebook beat in its aftermath. Prior to that, Issie worked as a staff writer for Inc. magazine, writing about small business and entrepreneurship. She has also worked as an on-air contributor for CBS News and taught a graduate-level course at New York University's Center for Publishing on how tech giants have affected publishing.

Sponsored Content

Why the digital transformation of industries is creating a more sustainable future

Qualcomm’s chief sustainability officer Angela Baker on how companies can view going “digital” as a way not only toward growth, as laid out in a recent report, but also toward establishing and meeting environmental, social and governance goals.

Three letters dominate business practice at present: ESG, or environmental, social and governance goals. The number of mentions of the environment in financial earnings has doubled in the last five years, according to GlobalData: 600,000 companies mentioned the term in their annual or quarterly results last year.

But meeting those ESG goals can be a challenge — one that businesses can’t and shouldn’t take lightly. Ahead of an exclusive fireside chat at Davos, Angela Baker, chief sustainability officer at Qualcomm, sat down with Protocol to speak about how best to achieve those targets and how Qualcomm thinks about its own sustainability strategy, net zero commitment, other ESG targets and more.

Keep Reading Show less
Chris Stokel-Walker

Chris Stokel-Walker is a freelance technology and culture journalist and author of "YouTubers: How YouTube Shook Up TV and Created a New Generation of Stars." His work has been published in The New York Times, The Guardian and Wired.


From frenzy to fear: Trading apps grapple with anxious investors

After riding the stock-trading wave last year, trading apps like Robinhood have disenchanted customers and jittery investors.

Retail stock trading is still an attractive business, as shown by the news that crypto exchange FTX is dipping its toes in the market by letting some U.S. customers trade stocks.

Photo: Lam Yik/Bloomberg via Getty Images

For a brief moment, last year’s GameStop craze made buying and selling stocks cool, even exciting, for a new generation of young investors. Now, that frenzy has turned to fear.

Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev pointed to “a challenging macro environment” marked by rising prices and interest rates and a slumping market in a call with analysts explaining his company’s lackluster results. The downturn, he said, was something “most of our customers have never experienced in their lifetimes.”

Keep Reading Show less
Benjamin Pimentel

Benjamin Pimentel ( @benpimentel) covers crypto and fintech from San Francisco. He has reported on many of the biggest tech stories over the past 20 years for the San Francisco Chronicle, Dow Jones MarketWatch and Business Insider, from the dot-com crash, the rise of cloud computing, social networking and AI to the impact of the Great Recession and the COVID crisis on Silicon Valley and beyond. He can be reached at or via Google Voice at (925) 307-9342.


Broadcom is reportedly in talks to acquire VMware

It hasn't been long since it left the ownership of Dell Technologies.

Photo: Yichuan Cao/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Broadcom is said to be in discussions with VMware to buy the cloud computing company for as much as $50 billion.

Keep Reading Show less
Jamie Condliffe

Jamie Condliffe ( @jme_c) is the executive editor at Protocol, based in London. Prior to joining Protocol in 2019, he worked on the business desk at The New York Times, where he edited the DealBook newsletter and wrote Bits, the weekly tech newsletter. He has previously worked at MIT Technology Review, Gizmodo, and New Scientist, and has held lectureships at the University of Oxford and Imperial College London. He also holds a doctorate in engineering from the University of Oxford.


Should startups be scared?

Stock market turmoil is making VCs skittish. Could now be the best time to start a company?

Dark times could be ahead for startups.

Photo by Startaê Team on Unsplash

This week, we break down why Elon Musk is tweeting about the S&P 500's ESG rankings — and why he might be right to be mad. Then we discuss how tech companies are failing to prevent mass shootings, and why the new Texas social media law might make it more difficult for platforms to be proactive.

Then Protocol's Biz Carson, author of the weekly VC newsletter Pipeline, joins us to explain the state of venture capital amidst plunging stocks and declining revenues. Should founders start panicking? The answer might surprise you.

Keep Reading Show less
Caitlin McGarry

Caitlin McGarry is the news editor at Protocol.

Latest Stories