World Cup and Disney’s Frozen top UAE’s Google searches

Google says the UAE has more international interests compared with the rest of the Middle East.
Germany’s players celebrate their World Cup victory. The event in Brazil was among the year’s top internet search terms. Darren Staples / Reuters
Germany’s players celebrate their World Cup victory. The event in Brazil was among the year’s top internet search terms. Darren Staples / Reuters

DUBAI // The football World Cup in Brazil and Disney movie Frozen were among the year’s top internet search terms.

Google users were also captivated by Apple’s iPhone 6, Malaysian Airlines, Ramadan, the actor Robin Williams, the TV show Ramez Qersh Al Bahr, the Flappy Bird smartphone game, the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and Diwali.

“If we compare the results this year to last year, they are very much in line and similar to global trends, and I think that reflects how international the UAE is as a country,” said Joyce Baz, head of communications at Google in the Middle East and North Africa.

The company’s annual search report looks at trends from trillions of searches worldwide throughout the year, calculated using algorithms to aggregate searches using anonymous data based on location, time and date. The top trends look at searches that register the highest spike in traffic over a sustained period.

Google also looked at trends in three distinct categories: people, events and movies. “The purpose behind it is to showcase the people, topics, events and places that capture the attention of people in the UAE,” said Ms Baz.

Frozen topped the list of trending movies in the country, ahead of Interstellar, Maleficent, Godzilla, Edge of Tomorrow, Captain America 2, Dracula Untold, Gone Girl, Lucy and American Hustle.

Trending events were the World Cup, the Malaysian Airlines crash, Ramadan, Diwali, the Gitex conference in Dubai, the Gaza conflict, the Ice Bucket Challenge, the Ebola outbreak, the Oscars and the Scottish referendum.

Celebrity deaths caused three people to trend in UAE Google searches – Robin Williams, the comedian Joan Rivers and actor Philip Seymour Hoffman.

“We find that people tend to end up searching and trying to understand more, and we find even related searches to the context of the death,” said Ms Baz.

The company found people looking up depression, for instance, after finding out about Robin Williams’s death in August.

The actor and comedian was the top search trend for the UAE, followed by the late businesswoman Sunanda Pushkar, Narendra Modi, Joan Rivers, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Formula One star Michael Schumacher, lawyer Amal Alamuddin, actress Renee Zellweger, celebrity Kim Kardashian and author Jordan Belfort.

UAE searches set the country apart from others in the Middle East, said Ms Baz.

“It’s very much in line with the global trends and way more international than any other country in the region,” she said.

Egypt and Saudi Arabia, for instance, show trends that are more locally relevant and less global. For the UAE, on the other hand, all of this year’s trending people are international.

“Obviously, in other countries, you find more search queries in Arabic than English,” Ms Baz said.

Google looked at trends in 72 countries for this year’s report.

“We really look at it as a way to capture the spirit of the times for that year,” said Ms Baz.

People can visit, an online tool to look up search terms they are interested in and see how search volumes have changed over time.

“It’s a tool for them to be able to draw the insights on their own,” said Ms Baz.

Published: December 16, 2014 04:00 AM


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