An addendum: Since the data behind the graphs are live, you may notice that the top-10 searches have changed by the time you are reading this blog entry. For instance, on Oct 13, the top most searched word in Iran was “University”.
Have you ever wondered what web-enabled South Asians living in South Asia are up to? That is what are they searching for on the internet? Is it the pursuit of higher learning, happiness, peace or, shear hedonic entertainment?
I searched for what the people in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Iran were googling. Some very interesting results emerged. First, there is a significant trend for navel gazing. With the exception of Iran, others are busy searching their homelands on the internet. Thus, the Pakistanis are searching for ‘Pakistan’ and the Indians are searching for ‘India’. The question is why? They are already living there. Perhaps they are interested in knowing what is mentioned about their homelands on the web.
Iranians interestingly are busy searching for terms in Persian only, whereas others have been searching for terms in English. This suggests a nationalist literary tradition in Iran where the Persian language is more commonly used by the Internet generation than English. And while the commentators and journalists in the West would assume that the Iranians are busy searching for evidence of rigging in the last presidential elections, the reality is that the Iranians are busy searching for the terms “download” and “pictures” on the Internet. They are, like other youngsters in the rest of South Asia, are busy downloading movies and music. In fact, the recently popular searches included Ramadan, the Azad University, and the Free Islamic University.
The common searches in South Asia continue to be for songs, games, videos, and of course girls, suggesting the male bias on the Internet.
Interestingly the only commercial product that made it amongst the top searches was Nokia cell phones.
searches in Pakistan