The United Kingdom has just made one of its biggest decisions in recent history after voting to leave the European Union. As Britons wake up to news that the country will break free from Brussels and the 28-member bloc, Brexit backers around the country are celebrating the UK's new-found sovereignty. Or are they?
Google Trends paints a worrying picture of a country that may have voted as a knee-jerk reaction to the perceived shortfalls of the European Union, rather than with a factual knowledge of the consequences of leaving or remaining in the EU. According to its Twitter page, Google Trends saw a 250%+ spike in people searching: "what happens if we leave the EU" – after voting had closed on 23 June.
Of course, it's possible these searches were being made by those who did not vote and have been confused by the whole thing from the start. However, the immediate ramifications are already becoming clear.
The pound has plummeted to its lowest exchange rate in 30 years, and London's stock market has plunged. In the wake of the historic vote, Prime Minister David Cameron has also announced he will step down as the country's leader in October.
Equally depressing were post-voting searches of "what is Brexit?", "what is the EU referendum?" and "what if I don't vote in the EU referendum?" in parts of the UK, including Birmingham, which came out in favour of a Brexit. Meanwhile in Newcastle, "What is Brexit?" was the third-most searched question.
In London, where the majority of voters backed Remain, Google Trends has recorded a spike of more than 680% in searches for "move to Gibraltar", and there has been more than a 100% increase in searches for "getting an Irish passport" across the country. According to a report by Washington Post, Google also noted that "move to Canada" searches spiked in Britain.
The UK's technology industry is one of many facing uncertainty in light of the Leave campaign's triumph, with fears that volatility around the UK economy could curb investment in Britain's tech start-ups, who could also face increased workforce costs.
Meanwhile, Google has revealed that the rest of the world is asking a question no doubt shared by many Britons this morning: "Why did Britain leave the EU?"
There is also a petition on change.org calling for London to become independent from the UK and join the EU. The "Londenpendence" petition has more than 100,000 signatures at the time of writing. According to a report by BBC, London School of Economics' Professor Tony Travers opines that London is "radically different" adding that, "Maybe moving more decision-making to cities and councils could be a solution to the differences within the country."