Every day, people go on Google to search. In fact, every second there are approximately 63,000 searches being made.
That’s 3.8 million every minute.
227 million every hour.
5.4 billion every day.
And that’s just on Google.
With my background as a Search Engine Optimizer, or SEO, I thought it would be fun to do a segment on a little bit human where I dive into the various topics people like to ask Google questions about.
“Why are Americans so angry?”
“Why do dogs eat poop?”
Or “why is Trump orange?”
That last one gets over 7,000 searches every month.
I’ve decided to call this segment “Why, Google, Why?”, and for the first episode, I’ll be diving into the topic of what was one of the hottest tourist destinations in the world before COVID-19 hit us, my beloved homeland: Iceland.
Why is Iceland called Iceland?
Let’s start with the common ones. As someone who worked in the tourism industry for a while, I got this question quite routinely.
Iceland was not always called Iceland.
The first norseman to land on this Arctic island was Naddoddur Ástvalsson from Norway. He stayed a while but as he left, snow begin to fall on a nearby mountain, encouraging him to name this strange new land “Snæland” meaning “Snowland”.
Next in line came a Swede called Garðar Svavarsson with a bit of a Trump-complex and graciously named the island “Garðarshólmi” meaning “Isle of Garðar”.
Third time’s the charm as they say. That certainly seems to have been the case for Iceland, as the third person to hit up the island with a desire to name it was a viking called Hrafna-Flóki, anglicized as Raven-Floki.
He got his name for the three ravens he traveled with who helped guide his way.
Fun fact: The character Floki from the History Channel’s Vikings is based on Hrafna-Flóki.
As he arrived in what was then called Garðarshólmi, Hrafna-Flóki and his people had a great summer full of bountiful fishing but were ill-prepared as the winter came, causing all of their livestock to die.
Eventually, Hrafna-Flóki returned to Norway, and when asked about the island, he claimed it was a worthless desolate land of ice and called it Iceland.
I guess the nickname stuck.
He actually returned to Iceland and lived out his days there, so I like to think he was actually fond of it but rather tried to deter others from making it their home.
Why is Iceland so expensive?
Well, it’s an island in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. All imports are done by sea or air, so there are a lot of tariffs and other costs involved in bringing in cargo.
The currency is also quite strong and was in fact deemed the best-performing currency in 2017 after its 40% recovery rate in the wake of the 2008 recession.
The biggest reason for Iceland being so expensive is the high standard of living. The minimum monthly income for a 100% position is approximately $2,390 and that cost gets carried over to the consumer in some part. A fair trade I’d say.
Why is Iceland so safe?
Iceland apparently has over 90,000 guns.
Doesn’t sound like a lot until you realize Iceland only has about 320,000 residents.
With that many guns, then why is the murder rate only 1.8 per 100,000?
Well, we may have a lot of guns, but most of those are used for hunting.
We don’t have people waving around AR15s and screaming about their rights to bear arms. In fact, I was shocked to hear about this statistic since I don’t think I have ever seen an actual gun in Iceland.
Gun owners in Iceland typically do not have guns in their possession as some form of prosthetic for their masculinity. They have guns to hunt. That’s it.
It wasn’t until I moved to America when I started seeing them on a daily basis. (On cops mostly)
The police in Iceland do not carry guns on the regular. They do have special police units such as the Viking Squad who arm themselves during emergencies, but this is rare.
In fact, only once has the police in Iceland ever killed another human being.
It was a mentally ill individual who was shooting a rifle out of his apartment. The police were forced to take him down only after he had shot a police officer in the helmet.
The officer survived.
But, in spite of the obvious case of self-defense, the police still held a press conference and apologized to the public for having to resort to that.
I believe Iceland is one of the safest places in the world because of our high standards of living, our high rates of college educated citizens and our gun control regulations.
Why is Iceland killing whales?
There is only one company in Iceland that actively hunts whales. The majority of Icelanders do not support the whaling industry and would rather see the whale watching industry thrive. I would not be surprised to see a law put in place against whaling in the near future.
Why is Iceland the best place to be a woman?
I don’t know if it’s the best place but Iceland has always been quite progressive when it comes to matters of equality or basic human rights.
The only area we may be lacking in is Transgender protections. I feel like we could definitely step it up there.
Iceland has been awarded as the Most Feminist Country in the World twice in a row and has the world’s highest proportion of women in the labor market.
There are also significant child care allocations for women in the workplace, and three months paid parental leave for both men and women.
Why is Iceland devoid of trees?
In short, the Vikings razed them all to build their homes and villages.
The vast amounts of grazing sheep also erode the soil, making it harder for trees to grow.
But there are substantial tree-planting efforts being made across Iceland so who knows, we might see a lush woodland wonderland in Iceland one day.
What’s a topic you regularly go to Google to ask about? Let me know in the comments.