The local Google branch, this side of Africa, have certainly been very communicative. And this time they’re giving us insight into the country’s Zeitgeist.
As part of its year-end Zeitgeist trends results, which monitors search trends around the world, Google has released results of what South Africans have been searching for this year in the categories of politics, sport, celebrities and recession related queries.
In the political arena, some of the most popular searches included firebrand ANC Youth League President, Julius Malema, who pipped Helen Zille of the Democratic Alliance and Mvume Dandala of COPE as the third most searched for politician. Despite having a high volume of searches to his name, the Youth League president had to make way for his seniors, Jacob Zuma and Nelson Mandela who demonstrated their staying power by leading the rankings.
Former Springbok Joost van de Westhuizen had us all scrambling for our keyboards and heading for the Google search box when he released his biography. Joost’s relatively late entry into the gossip columns meant he was no match for perennial celebrity, DJ Sbu from youth radio station YFM who led the ‘most for searched for celebrity’ category. He was followed by socialite Khanyisile Mbau. The Benoni-girl done good, Charlize Theron, was not to be outdone coming a close third in the rankings.
In the sports category, the Super 14 rugby was the most searched for item, followed closely by the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket, which was quite an achievement as the event was moved to South Africa from India at a late stage in the planning process. Surprisingly, the Confederations Cup was fourth in the rankings despite it being a prelude to the 2010 World Cup, following the third placed Cape Argus cycle race.
This year’s Zeitgeist also reflects important South African concerns, such as understanding how the recession has impacted the local economy. In addition, recession-related keywords such as ‘recession jokes’ showed that not everyone was taking the recession so seriously. South African consumers have also adapted to the recession by being on the lookout for a good bargain, reflected increasing searches for goods in the second hand market on website such as Gumtree and Junkmail Cars.
You can see what the popular search terms are in other countries at Google’s Zeitgeist.
This year’s global fastest rising searches show interest across pop culture (with the King of Pop at the helm, followed by searches for movie New Moon and singer Lady Gaga), social networking sites and new technologies such as Windows 7 and Torpedo Gratis.
Global Fastest Rising Queries
1. michael jackson
6. new moon
7. lady gaga
8. windows 7
10. torpedo gratis
South Africa’s Top Searches
gumtree cape town
absa internet banking
Most searched for politician
patricia de lille
Most searched recession queries
what is recession
surviving the recession
double dip recession
causes of recession
Most searched for celebs
joost van der westhuizen