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SA search went local in 2017

December 27th, 2017
The top searches on Google in South Africa shows deepening interest in local news and places, writes BRYAN TURNER.
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South Africans are searching more locally now than in previous years, according to Google’s Year In Search analysis, which offers a snapshot of the most popular searches of the year.

It shows that, for 2017, the first seven of the Top 10 Trending Searched Personalities in this country were South African, and six out of the Top 10 Trending Search Terms were directly related to South Africa.

“This is really telling of the society, not just that more people are coming online, but also that South Africans are genuinely interested in South Africa and the surrounds,” says Mich Atagana, head of communications and public affairs for South Africa at Google.

Top personality searches at Google's SA search museum

Top personality searches at Google’s SA “search museum”

Dumi Masilela, an actor from the South African TV show Rhythm City, topped the list of searches after he was killed in an attempted hijacking in August this year. Atagana stressed that Google searches might be becoming more relevant due to more South Africans becoming connected and searching for answers to questions arising from daily situations.

“This year I thought it was very telling of South African society to see a question like ‘What is junk status?’.”

Google’s Year In Search launch event was designed as a museum of searches this year, with various sections split up into visual and interactive categories, auch as portraits of trending personalities, and recipe cards for trending recipes. In the recipe section, the number 1 Trending Searched Recipe was Oxtail, but holds a Top Trending result only in South Africa.

This year Google introduced Top Trending ‘Near Me’, which reveals how people search for places of interest closest to them, using location services within a phone or browser. Only three positions were held by restaurants or food outlets: KFC, Steers and Sushi. The topic winner here was healthcare services, which held four positions in the top 10: Pharmacy, Dentist, Gynaecologist and Doctor.

Atagana said that it was interesting to see that serious questions were brought up in the trending question section, with “What role can the private sector play in poverty alleviation?” sitting at 4th place. However, this may have related to it being a school assignment in the Western Cape. Burning topics like Hurricane Dineo and Bitcoin topped the list of questions.

op Near Me searches at Google's SA search museum

Top Near Me searches at Google’s SA “search museum”

There were some surprises about some personalities not making the top 10 list, such as Donald Trump and the Gupta Family.

“One of my biggest surprises was that there are no Gupta mentions on any of the lists.” said Atagana. “Trump didn’t make our people list either, when we thought he would.”

In the 2016 Year In Search results, Donald Trump ranked 4th in overall trending searches and the Gutpa family ranked 3rd in trending South African politicians and prominent figures.

Top recipe searches at Google's SA "search "museum

Top recipe searches at Google’s SA “search “museum

Top Trending Search Terms in South Africa

Near Me

1) Pharmacy near me
2) Dentist near me
3) KFC near me
4) Jobs hiring near me
5) Hardware store near me
6) Gynecologist near me
7) Printing shops near me
8) Steers near me
9) Sushi near me
10) Doctors near me

Personalities
1) Dumi Masilela
2) Joe Mafela
3) Joost van der Westhuizen
4) Zodwa Wabantu
5) Mandla Hlatshwayo
6) Lundi Tyamara
7) Simphiwe Ngema
8) Grace Mugabe
9) Hugh Hefner
10) Chester Bennington

Questions
1) What is dineo?
2) What is bitcoin?
3) Who won the money fight?
4) What role can the private sector play in poverty alleviation?
5) How to lose belly fat?
6) How old is Simphiwe Ngema?
7) What is happening in Zimbabwe?
8) How to make slime?
9) What is junk status?
10) How to manage xenophobia?

Recipes
1) Oxtail recipes
2) Sweet potato recipes
3) Beef stew recipes
4) Vegan recipes
5) Creamed spinach recipes
6) Halal recipes
7) Prawn recipes
8) Spaghetti recipes
9) Cauliflower recipes
10) Bread recipes

Searches
1) Dumi Masilela
2) Zimbabwe
3) Cyclone Dineo
4) Joe Mafela
5) Karabo Mokoena
6) Joost van der Westhuizen
7) Black Friday
8) Mayweather vs McGregor Fight
9) Fast and Furious 8
10) Hurricane Irma

TV Shows
1) 13 Reasons Why
2) Game of Thrones
3) Isibaya
4) Uzalo
5) Big Brother Naija
6) American Gods
7) Idols SA
8) Sex in the City
9) Big Little Lies
10) Riverdale

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