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Top trending Google searches in Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa (2012)

December 12, 2012  »  Video & WebNo Comment

Intrigued by MyBroadbands’s post “Google’s top SA searches of 2012,” we decided to take examine 2012’s Google search trends for all African nations with available Google Zeitgeist data (there are 6 of them – up from 3 last year. The categories vary by nation, depending on how much data was available, so direct comparisons cannot necessarily be made among African nations. Still, it is clear how each nation has very different interests.


Whitney Houston remains a common global search. From an online perspective, there is great interest in Facebook, Tubidy, and Whatsapp. Tubidy indexes videos from internet and transcodes them to be played on your mobile phone. Whatsapp utilizes push notifications to avoid SMS charges. Sex and love are again common themes (true for the majority of countries). The December elections (and death of John Atta Mills) caused a rise in searches relating to government and constitution.

Trending Searches: Loving You, Facebook, Whitney Houston, Tubidy, Whatsapp

Trending People: Whitney Houston, Eddie Murphy, Atta Mills

Trending What is…?: What is Matter, What is Sex, What is Love, What is a Constitution, What is Government


Searches for the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission have skyrocketed as voters check their membership status in advance of the upcoming elections. Facebook remains popular, and Tubidy has appeared as a trending term (as in Ghana). Also of interest are Skype, iPod, and IMEI (mobile device number).

Trending Searches: IEBC, Facebook, Whitney Houston, Tubidy, Euro 2012

Trending Images: Nairobi, Rihanna, Eva Luna

Trending What is…? Technology: What is technology, What is skype, What is iPod, What is data, What is IMEI

Also, of all “How to…?” searches, ‘how to abort’ was the highest trending search of the year.


It comes as no surprise the top trending search is for the tertiary-level entrance exam. Mozat, a popular social chat and gaming app is next on the list, followed by news-makers Boko Haram and Asuu Strike. Interestingly, the term ‘Google news’ is in the fifth position. Based on the most searched ‘what is…?’ terms, we can conclude a large portion of Nigerian Google searchers are students.

Trending Searches: Jamb, Mozat, Boko Haram, Asuu Strike, Google news

Most Searched What is…?: What is love, What is computer, What is biology, What is government, What is economics


The most popular searches related to the presidential election, soccer, a popular website, and American fast food. Like Kenya, popular images related to the largest city, and Rihanna. The ‘how to’ searches have less meaning.

Trending Searches: Dakaractu, Euro 2012, 123dakar, McDonalds, CAN 2012

Trending Images: Dakar, Messi, Rihanna, Ronaldo, Balla Gaye

Trending How to…: Comment remplir enveloppe, Comment maigrir, Comment faire, Comment se maquiller, Comment devenir intelligent

South Africa

Apart from the top trending search (online classifieds site OLX), searches resembled those from the U.S. Same goes for images. In terms of technology, ICT (near and dear to us) comes in at – surprising given its non-mainstream appeal. Additionally, Android outranks Apple, and there appears to be interest in understanding the Internet and Facebook.

Trending Searches: OLX, Whitney Houston, Hurricane Sandy, Gangnam Style, Olympics

Most Searched Images: Lady Gaga, Funny Pictures, Nicki Minaj, Wedding Dresses, Happy Birthday

Trending What is…? Technology: What is ICT, What is android, What is internet, What is facebook, What is instagram


Popular searches include the events of Port Said (football violence), Supreme Committee for Elections, and universities 2012. Interestingly, the third most popular image search trend was the WordPress publishing platform.

Trending Searches: أحداث بورسعيد, اللجنة العليا للإنتخابات, تنسيق الجامعات ٢٠١٢

Trending Images: علم مص ,احمد شفيق ,ورد


How did Google compile these lists?

They studied an aggregation of over one trillion searches (or queries) that people typed into Google Search this year. Data came from multiple sources, including Google Trends and internal data tools. Then, Google filtered out spam and repeat queries to build lists that best reflect the spirit of 2012. The “trending” queries are the searches that had the highest amount of traffic over a sustained period in 2012 as compared to 2011. The “most searched” queries are the most popular terms for 2012—ranked in order of the queries with the largest volume of searches.

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