Young Saudi man with his smartphone
This photo was taken during a graduation ceremony at King Fahad University for Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) in Saudi Arabia. © William Bauer
Young Saudi man with his smartphone
Vera Illugadóttir
Last updated: December 18, 2012

What people searched for in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE

We’re nearing the end of 2012, and Google has released its yearly “Zeitgeist”, a review of the past year’s search trends.

The Google Zeitgeist lists top trending search queries — queries that, compared to last year, had the highest amount of traffic over a sustained period.

An especially interesting part of the Google Zeitgeist is the ability to break down the data by countries. Not all countries are included in the report, but we can look at detailed search data for three Arab countries: Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

It’s been another tumultuous year for Egyptians, a fact clearly reflected in their search queries. The list of top 10 search trends in Egypt is dominated by local politics and events. This was also the case in last year’s Zeitgeist, as it seems Egyptians have become accustomed to turning to the Internet — and Google — to seek important information. 

In first place, the top trending search of 2012, was the Port Said stadium disaster on February 1 (أحداث بورسعيد). And in second place, the Egyptian Supreme Committee for Elections (“اللجنة العليا للإنتخابات”). Political parties, Al-Nour and the Freedom & Justice Party, took fifth and seventh place on the list respectively, and “Presidential elections” (إنتخابات الرئاسة) was #9. The Mubarak trial (محاكمة مبارك) is #8 and the Muslim Brotherhood’s “Renaissance Project” for Egypt (مشروع النهضة) is #10. Lastly, “Tahrir Square” took fourth place, two places down from the second place it held in 2011’s Zeitgeist.

Politics also featured in the search trends of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, but not as prominently. Saudis searched, for instance, for “Mohammed Morsi” (fifth place) and “Free Syrian Army” (#8) and Emiratis for “the Syrian revolution” (#10). Still, Internet users in these countries seem to have had other concerns at the top of their minds, at least judging by these results. The top three search queries in Saudi Arabia were “student results”, “insurance” and “Arab Idol”, and in the UAE — “Gangnam Style”, “iPad 3” and “Olympics 2012”.

The full Zeitgeist reports also include interesting information about trending persons, TV shows and more. Check out the full reports for Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and of course the entire world.

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