What people across the Middle East and North Africa searched for beyond Coronavirus
This year has been challenging and unique- it started with coronavirus pandemic, which continued throughout the year, changing our daily lives in a number of ways. While the pandemic had a profound impact on our lives, was it the only defining feature of 2020?
Google’s Year in Search lists for a number of countries across Arab World highlighted that despite the pandemic, a passion for learning and maintaining hobbies and interests, whether sports or art all played an important role in people’s lives as they continued to show great resilience and adaptability. The annual lists share the most trending search queries that had the highest spike over a sustained period in 2020 compared to 2019. They include the top trending searches for a range of countries across the Middle East and North Africa and are generated by looking at trillions of aggregated and anonymized searches. Spam and repetitive queries are then removed to build lists that reflect the spirit of 2020. What were the top trending topics and events that caught people’s attention across the region beyond the pandemic? Let’s take a look at the list organised in alphabetical order of the countries.
“High School National Diploma or Thanawya Amma (ثانوية عامة)” results ranked second in Egypt as the interest in education continued despite the challenges faced by teachers and students. E- Library was also among the top trending queries in Egypt as more and more people adapted to remote learning. Egyptians were also interested in global events such as the US Elections and football matches particularly the Egyptian Football League. On the entertainment front, “Al Ekhtiyar” and “El Brins”.
Education continued to be an integral to Iraqis with the top trending list including the results of sixth preparatory class 2020 and Newton platform. Iraqis were also interested in US Elections, and football matches especially the Spanish League (La Liga). Movie fans searched for the movie “Teer Enta” and some people played “Al Marid Al Azraq or the Blue Genie” to stay entertained. JordanThe e-learning platform “Darsak” was the top trending query in Jordan, followed by “Covid-19”. There was also interest in local services and developments with searches for the “results of parliamentary elections 2020”, social security, bread subsidies, and Lubna Koshiya all making the top ten lists. That said, Jordanians continued to watch their favourite series with “Al Haybah - Al Rad” and El Brins both making it to the top ten list.
The local situation had a notable presence in Lebanon’s top trending queries. People in Lebanon searched for “dollar exchange rate today”, Beirut Explosion, Riad Salamé, Caesar Syrian Civilian Protection Act. Despite the local challenges, the Lebanese continued to pursue their interests following international events such as the US elections, The Premier League and NBA, while fans of TV series searched for “Al Haybah - Al Rad” and “Al Bahar Al Aswad”.
Learning platforms like Al Telmith TICE, Tawjihi, and KoolSkools were among the top trending lists in Morocco. Football was also very popular with the matches between Spezia vs Juventus, and Alaves vs Barcelona ranking in the top trending queries as well. PalestinePalestinians were most interested in educational and political events such as the US elections, the Deal of the Century and “Tawjihi results”. They also kept up to date with the Spanish League and fans of TV series were most interested in “Al Haybah - Al Rad”, “El Brins” and “Anta Etroq Babi”. QatarThe elections and sports featured heavily in Qatar’s top trending queries for 2020. The U.S. Presidential Elections and Bihar elections in India and the Indian Premier League, Champions League and NBA all making it to the top ten.
Sports and elections attracted the interests of UAE residents. The US and Bihar Elections ranked second and seventh respectively in the top trending queries for 2020. There was also an interest in international sporting events with the Indian Premier League and Champions League and NBA ranking third, eighth, and tenth respectively on the list.
Saudi Arabia’s e-learning platform Madrasti was the most trending search query across Saudi Arabia. However, a love of sports was evident in Saudi Arabia with the Cricket World Cup match between India and New Zealand, the Saudi Football League table and “sports” all making it to the top ten trending queries across the country. The US elections and President Trump also featured in the list. You can see the full list of top trending queries for a number of countries across the Arab World below: