As the year 2019 comes to a close, social media platforms like Twitter and companies such as Google are compiling data to show the year’s highlights and trends. Google Trends, an analytical website by Google, is one among these many platforms.
Google Trends scrutinises the most popular searches made on Google and presents graphs based on cumulative data. As is the case every year, Google Trends came up with lists of this year’s top searches across various categories such as news, personalities, movies, sports events and songs, amongst many others.
These lists compiled by Google Trends are global as well as country specific. It was noted the top overall search across the globe in 2019 was ‘India v/s South Africa,’ referring to the India-South Africa Test series of 2019 which took place from the 15th of September to the 23rd of October 2019. The top overall search in India, as per Google Trends, was ‘Cricket World Cup,’ referring to the ICC Cricket World Cup hosted by England between the 30th of May and the 14th of July 2019. England lifted the trophy this year, making it the first time the Country won the title. The ICC Cricket World Cup was the top trending search on the ‘Sports Events’ list and was also the 3rd most trending news in the world.
The news which trended the most in India and was also the second most trending overall search in India in 2019 was ‘Lok Sabha election results’ and ‘Lok Sabha Elections’ respectively. India held the elections for the constitution of its 17th Lok Sabha from the 11th of April to the 19th of May 2019. The 2019 Lok Sabha elections, which were held in 7 phases for 543 seats, had over 8,000 candidates from 2,293 national and local parties contesting them. The Narendra Modi led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had a landslide victory in the elections and formed the Government of India for a second consecutive term. Interestingly, ‘India election results’ was the 8th most trending news across the globe as the world’s largest democracy held its elections.
With over 900 million citizens eligible to vote in the Lok Sabha elections and 1 million polling stations set up across the Country, the top trending ‘How to…’ search of the year in India was ‘How to vote.’ This adds to the fact this year’s Lok Sabha elections were one of the largest elections ever held in India.
One of the biggest decisions taken by the Modi led BJP in 2019 was the abolition of Article 370. This Article gave a special status to the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir. Followed by the revocation of Article 370, the Government of India also implemented the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, which bifurcated Jammu and Kashmir into 2 union territories—Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. This was an issue about which not just India, but the entire world spoke. This topic also found its place in the list of one of the top Google Trends as ‘What is Article 370?’ was the most trending ‘What is…’ search of the year in India. Moreover, ‘Article 370’ was also the 6th most trending overall search of the year in India.
The Government of India’s decision to scrap Article 370 was not the only move about which India and the world spoke. Earlier in the year, on the 26th of February, the Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out an airstrike on the Jaish e Mohammed (JeM) terror camps in Balakot, Pakistan, in retaliation to an attack by the JeM in Pulwama on the 14th of February 2019. The Pulwama attack led to 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) soldiers losing their lives. Post the Balakot airstrike, a standoff took place between India and Pakistan, during which an IAF MiG-21 aircraft was shot down. The pilot of the aircraft, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, was then held captive by officials of Pakistan for 60 hours. From the time of Wing Commander Varthaman’s capture to when he was sent back to India, the Country was on tenterhooks, so much so, ‘Abhinandan Varthaman’ was the top trending search on Google in India in the ‘Personalities’ category. The most trending personality of the world in 2019 was Antonio Brown. The American footballer was in the news for his professional decisions and for being involved in off the field controversies pertaining to him sexually assaulting 2 women.
While the field of politics played a crucial role in determining what the majority of the audience looked up on Google, the world of films in India was ruled by a highly spoken about a Bollywood movie starring Shahid Kapoor and Kiara Advani in the lead. Yes, you guessed it right—Kabir Singh. The Sandeep Reddy Vanga directorial took India by storm as it was released on the 21st of June 2019 and was the movie for which Indians searched the most on Google. Therefore, Kabir Singh stood as the most trending search on Google in the Country in the ‘Movies’ list. This blockbuster was followed by the highest grossing movie of all time—Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame. As per Google Trends, the Anthony Russo and Joseph Russo directorial, which was released on the 26th of April 2019, became the top trending search in the world in the ‘Movies’ category in 2019. With all the excitement and anticipation around this Hollywood movie, it is likely this does not come as a surprise to many.
There were not just movies which trended on Google searches in India in 2019, but also the songs they featured. However, the song which trended at number one in the Country as the most searched may surprise you as it was not one featured in any movie. Le Photo Le, a Rajasthani/Marwadi song sung by Nilu Rangili, was this year’s trending search on Google in India in the ‘Songs’ category. The song was viewed more than 100 million times on YouTube. On the other hand, the song for which the world searched the most on Google was Old Town Road by American rapper Lil Nas X, featuring famous American singer, songwriter and actor Billy Ray Cyrus.
All in all, it is safe to say people did not shy away from asking Google anything and everything about which they had a doubt or wanted information. Most often than not, it was politics which dominated a number of categories of searches in India, showing how the political situation of the Country forms the basis of its functioning. It would be interesting to see what Google Trends holds for India and the rest of the world in 2020.