Chandrakant 'CK' Isi
24th Dec 2012
[With inputs from Kamakshi S]
The Year End party is just around the corner, it's fun to look back at what was big on the net in 2012. And what better way to gauge than what the internet giants, Google and Facebook have compiled? We sifted through Google's annual Zeitgeist report, and Facebook's data compilation to figure out what billions of people were looking for through their phones, tablets, and PCs.
To keep things more specific, Google has filtered out generic terms such as free, games, and music, and Facebook has published only a list of check-ins and music. Some of these are interesting (and you might even see yourself sheepishly agreeing to many!). So make your self a big a tub of popcorn as we begin dissecting the depths of the web!
Most people who use web searches and social networks are deemed to be literate, they don't necessarily need to be educated or civil for that matter. Google's data opens the doors to India's proverbial closet: But nothing that should surprise you out of your skin. The most searched person in the country is a porn star, Sunny Leone. If that isn't surprisingly enough, the "honourable" third position is taken by Poonam Pandey — a model and Twitter celeb who announced she would strip in public if the Indian cricket team won the World Cup 2011. Seventh on the list, Sherlyn Chopra, Playboy's Indian debut, seems to be more widely anticipated that most people would admit in open. It is however quite an achievement for a nation that never fails to uphold its double standards with sexuality, under the guide of "culture" and "traditions". Next year, maybe Google should replace the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button with "I'm Feeling Horny", just for India.
Moving on to Bollywood, Ek Tha Tiger, one of the worst films I've seen in my life, tops the search list. My hopes sank further looking at the rest of the movies that make up the top ten: Jism 2, Raaz 3, Jannat 2, Housefull 2, Rowdy Rathore, and Agent Vinod — each with a worse plot than the other. Nobody seems to have searched for movies like Paan Singh Tomar, or even Kahaani for that matter. The inspired-from-several-sources-yet-India's-Oscar-entry film Barfi, also seemed to make it to the most searched movies list: probably people were curious to know what sources it picked up from.
Amongst the bookish types, IBPS (Institute of Banking Personnel Selection) and GATE (Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering) were the two most popular terms, in that order. Looks like the youth has still its heart set on government jobs, and our country seems to have no shortage of engineers either. In this "all inclusive" search list, Aakash tablet took 8th spot, just below the late superstar Rajesh Khanna. Surprisingly, it's the only gadget that made it to the top ten list. Looks like students have bought into the idea of being virtually gifted a tablet. The other entry that took me by surprise was Jabong on the 10th spot. Seems like people are warming up to buying apparels and accessories and not just gadgets online. I wish they come up with better, more tolerable television commercials though!
If one were to judge Indians based on this data, the conclusion would be that Indians want to become clerks, love porn stars, and have too much time to watch and bad movies.
But that's just us. In worldwide search results, topping the list was Whitney Houston, well-known American singer and model who was found dead in her bathtub in February. The way I see it, it shows how people are incredibly curious: Everybody wants a piece of juicy gossip; it doesn't matter if it's the next-door-neighbour or a washed-up star from the yester years. The second most trending query was Gangnam Style. Again, the world at large seems to have no love for good music, but if you pit him against the likes of viral starlets Justin Beiber and Rebecca Black, PSY can atleast sing to save his life, and can even shake his leg a bit (it's another matter than I find it annoying both to the ears and the eyes). On a positive note, Olympics 2012 made it to the seventh place, but cricket-crazy Indians didn't give a damn despite this being our best performance at the games ever! While netizens back home swooned over a dirt-cheap Android tablet, the world went gaga over the iPad 3, which made it to the 4th spot in the list.
In the list of most searched people, Whitney Houston beat Kate Middleton, Prince William's new wife. Seems like the Americans outplayed British netizens here. Another notable entry is Amanda Todd, a morbid teenager who committed suicide after setting up herself to be cyber bullied. First world problems are beyond my understanding anyway. But my favourite in the list is undoubtedly Felix Baumgartner, the Austrian skydiver, who set the world record jumping from a height of 39 kilometres. Frankly, I think this daredevil act deserved to be placed a lot higher than the talentless English-Irish boy band One Direction.
For other lists and more analysis, head over to www.google.com/zeitgeist/2012.
Moving on to the social networking side of the web, Facebook also came up with some interesting year-end analysis, which highlights the world's social mindset in 2012.
The social network didn't shed a lot of light on what Indians did on the service, except compiling a list of most checked in locations and what trended musically. On the music front, songs from movies such as Cocktail, Rowdy Rathod, Janat 2, Jism 2, Student Of The Year made it on top of the charts. Most of these tunes have been inspired (Pritam lent his "worldly music knowledge" to the dud called Cocktail), or are just plain annoying (Chinta ta chita chita? What do they smoke to come up with "gems" like these?). But for a country that considers Kolaveri di a musical master piece, I guess expecting to do any better is too much to ask for. For details, you can go here.
This was the gist of the internet insights had to offer in 2012. Looking at the recent events, and how people are becoming less tolerant and more violent to sensitive issues around them, here's hoping that the revolutionary new year makes netizens a more responsible lot.