From internet banking to e-commerce and entertainment to education, Indian netizens in 2012 were busy looking for services on the Web which drove search volumes in the year. While users on their personal computers searched for Institute of Banking Personnel Selection and GATE exams, the searches on mobiles included songs and YouTube.
In fact, opening up of the country’s retail sector had an impact on the netizens also as they started warming up to e-commerce with a positive shift in the user’s perception on purchasing gadgets, books, accessories and more online.
These are the findings of the Google Zeitgeist 2011, which is a compilation of top search keywords by Google that users have been using throughout the year. Google reveals the internet ‘Zeitgeist’ (German for ‘the spirit of the times’) through an exploration of the over one trillion search queries we receive each year. In addition to the year-end Zeitgeist, which highlights the top trends of 2012, we also have several tools that give insight into global, regional, past and present search trends.
Rajan Anandan, vice-president and managing director—sales and operations, Google India, said, “Google’s 2012 Zeitgeist reflects data from 1.2 trillion searches in 146 languages globally. With 137 million users, India is the world’s third largest internet market and is a good barometer of trends in Indian society as a whole.”
However, Google Zeitgeist tools can never be used to identify individual users because we rely on anonymised, aggregated counts of how often certain search queries occur over time. With more institutions moving their services online for greater convenience, searches for them ticked upward accordingly. For instance, banks emerged as one of the most popular categories, with internet banking being the most frequently searched query within the category.
Taking an interesting diversion from the results of 2011, which reflected the emphasis on people and event related searches, internet users in India have now started using the Web for their personal needs—shopping, booking tickets, and making informed decisions for their offline purchases.
“With growing smartphone adoption, mobile searches continued to grow with over 70 million mobile internet users. We expect India’s next 150–180 million internet users will access the internet through their mobile devices. This means that the information that these users will look for will need to be more local and meaningful as already reflected in the kind of search trends we’re seeing in the country,” Anandan added.
An analysis of the top searched travel websites