(Cross-posted on the Official Google Blog)
It’s Valentine’s Day, and all you need is love.
Well, maybe you need a few more things.
This year, lovebirds in the U.S. are pulling out all the stops and are expected to hit a 10-year spending high on romantic goods. Whether you’re looking for a box of chocolates or buying a diamond ring, we’ve taken notes on how Google can turn any last-minute Cupid into a polished Romeo. Think of us as Cyrano de Bergerac, whispering words of wisdom in your ear for dishes, dates and romantic inspiration.
Sweets for a sweetie
They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Searches for [valentine’s day dinner], [valentine’s day recipes], [romantic dinner] and [romantic recipes] ramp up at the start at February, hitting their peak on the 14th.
If you’re whipping up a homemade treat, you can use Google Recipe view to search for thousands of heart-shaped cookie recipes, and tailor the ingredients (and the calorie count) for the best fit.
If you’re not a maestro in the kitchen yet, we can help. Peruse some trendy dishes and learn how to cook from YouTube’s Next Chefs, who have created a highlight reel of their best aphrodisiacs. We’re not playing favorites, but we do love the Sweetest Vegan’s red velvet beet cupcakes, which will come in handy for many couples—searches for [vegan valentines] have more than tripled since 2006.
Don’t know a truffle from a trifle? Then let a professional handle the meal. If you haven’t booked a table yet, you’re not alone: searches for [valentines day reservations] typically peak on February 9 and remain high through the holiday. For ideas, check out Zagat’s recommendations for romantic hotspots in your neighborhood. A word to the wise, though: If you’re planning on popping the question on Valentine’s Day, avoid dining out, as 69 percent of those surveyed in Zagat’s recent Valentine’s Day Survey feel that restaurant proposals are “cheesy.”
Perfect planners and last-minute cupids
Women have a head start on the menfolk when it comes to Valentine’s Day gifts, searching earlier (and more often) than their male counterparts—about 160 percent more since January.
The staple romantic gifts haven’t lost their appeal. Searches for [jewelry gifts] have grown over 10 percent, searches for [flower delivery] have increased nearly 20 percent, and searches for [couples massage] have jumped nearly 50 percent over last Valentine’s Day.
To impress, some folks are thinking outside the (heart-shaped) box. For the daring, create your own [valentines scavenger hunt]—searches are up more than 20 percent from last year. Or, add a personal touch—searches for [personalized valentines day gifts] are up over 20 percent compared to last year and searches for [homemade valentines gift] are up over 60 percent since last year. The last-minute lovers don’t have to despair, though. Visit Google Shopping to find gift ideas and filter results to see which items are in stock nearby.
Celebrating Valentine’s Day solo doesn’t mark you as a Miss (or Mr.) Lonelyhearts. Instead, treat yourself to a night on the town. View interactive results for nearby movie showtimes on your mobile phone, and know that if you indulge your inner cynic by skipping the rom com and catching a horror film, you won’t be alone: in the past 30 days, searches for [horror movie] are 230 percent higher than searches for [romantic movie].
Vive la romance
Everyone loves a fairytale ending, so let’s wrap up with two final ways to make your heart grow two sizes too big today. For a close-up look at romance at its finest, check out the “Awww: Romantic Proposals” YouTube Slam. Vote for your favorite mushy, creative, artistic, or—in one case—magic proposal.
Finally, today’s homepage doodle gives a nod to love, both young and old. Though “Cold, Cold Heart” plays in the background, we bet yours will warm just a bit.
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!