Using Google News to estimate online ICT attention
It may be common fact that Africa is currently receiving the most attention in regards to Internet and communications development. Attention can be gauged in many ways: investment dollars, number of organizations, or even by bandwidth. Curious to see how well-represented individual African nations are in the ICT progress game, I, however, turned to Google News for a quick analysis. Although such a medium is not an exact science and potential flaws exist (they are discussed below), the results can still point to useful general trends.
In this case, the presence of a newsworthy story means: 1) domestic excitement 2) international attention 3) progress. Searches were performed for three different categories: Africa, World, and Continent. The goal is both to see how African ICT development compares to the world and to see which African nations lag in current online ICT exposure. Here are the results after performing a simple search for ‘[country name] ict’ in the time period of ‘recent news’ which is approximately the past 3 weeks.
Africa, by country, in descending order:
|Country||Recent Google News Articles|
|Central African Republic||27|
|Dem. Rep. of Congo||15|
|Sao Tome And Principe||8|
- Nigeria has the most news stories, but also has the greatest population
- South Africa, as expected, is at the top, as are Kenya, Ghana, and Egypt
- East Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania) is receiving great attention, possible a residual from Seacom’s launch
- Apart from island nations, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Togo and Djibouti have low news volume
- Guinea-Bissau has no news articles indexed in Google News mentioning ICT in the past 3 weeks, and Eritrea has only 1
Notable world nations, in alphabetical order:
|Country||Recent Google News Stories|
- Nigeria & South Africa > Canada, France, Germany, Russia
- Africa has a relatively large number of ICT news stories per capita (remember India and China’s individual populations are roughly that of the entire African continent)
Continents, in descending order:
- As expected, Africa is currently receiving the most ICT attention
- The term ‘ICT’ seems much less common in the Americas
Notes on potential error:
- Perhaps not all regions of the world use the term ‘ICT’ thus skewing the data.
- Purely regional articles that don’t mention specific country names would not be included in this set.
- There’s a chance that local news outlets are not aggregated by Google News.
- Population data has not been integrated to normalize the data, but it really isn’t necessary. The trend, when combined with common knowledge of approximate populations, is clear.