What we asked Google in 2015

Eden Estopace - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - What’s on our minds, we Google.

Ever since the word was added in the Oxford English Dictionary and the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary in 2006 — a transitive verb that means “using the Google search box” to find information — We’ve been googling more of our way on the Web.

And because search engines can track our digital footprint, we could all just be thinking out loud when we search. 

In unveiling the top trending searches at the end of each year, the search giant has institutionalized the annual ritual of giving us an idea of what our collective interests are or something very close to it.

Aldub and the Pope

This year, it didn’t really give us a huge surprise when Aldub, Pope Francis and Maine Mendoza were named the top trending searches in the Philippines for 2015. They’ve brought millions of us into the virtual space in an exaggerated kind of way that is not always so easy to explain or define.

It isn’t no surprise then that next to the Pope, Alden Richards is the second top trending male personality in Google’s digital universe. Or that the hottest international vacation destination we would like to know is the Vatican City and the top app query is Dubsmash, that iconic mobile app used to create selfie videos dubbed with sound.

Let’s admit it, Maine Mendoza is the queen of this Dubsmash genre. On Eat Bulaga’s Kalye Serye, we just can’t get enough of her. Let’s admit it, she’s good at it and maybe that is what most audiences care about. We want to see someone excel in something we couldn’t even grasp.

We can’t get enough of Pope Francis either - he is not only the top male personality but his visit to the country is also the top trending news. To top it all, the “Who is” question is also the popular pontiff. 

As if we didn’t know already who the Pope is, but when you do an Internet search that means you are looking for more information. You want more facts and that’s probably good news to the Catholic Church.

Sports reign, current events win

Every year, the top searches are different, but there are also some permanent things such as our love for sports.

Six of the top 10 searches for events in the Philippines is sports-related: FIBA Asia 2015 (1st), SEA Games 2015 (4th), NBA Playoffs (2015), Pacquiao-Mayweather match (6th), Jones Cup 2015 (7th), and US Open (2016). Manny Pacquiao is also 6th top male personality searched for during the year.

It’s good to know, too, that our “Where is,” “What is” and “How to” questions were obviously influenced by  current events - Where is Nepal, Mali, Balesin, Philippine Arena, Vanuatu, Mecca, Ammanpulo? How to register in COMELEC, how to change the name in Clash of Clans, what is cyberbullying, what is haze? how to use Snapchat? how to use Dubsmash? How to change profile picture for Paris?

Perhaps we have paid more attention this year, not just to local but also international events. In the top 10 news searchers were global happenings - the Paris attacks, ISIS, Charlie Hebdo, Syria, the Singapore haze and the Nepal earthquake.

APEC summit, seriously?

There are some surprising twists, though, such as the APEC Summit 2015, which was the second top trending news and the second top trending event of the year.

Does that mean we now care more about trade deals and economic cooperation? Maybe. It has been a good 22 years since the first gathering of APEC leaders here and back in 1993, it was dubbed as the Philippines’ coming out party (after Martial Law and the tumultuous ‘Cory’ years) and we were gracious, not anxious, that we were hosting the summit. It was a different era.

Most people would like to believe though that it is the hellish traffic jams, the infrastructure meltdown and the wildly viral APEC hottie hashtag that herded us all to the search engine to enlighten us about the whole brouhaha. 

If traffic along EDSA crawls on a regular day, it ground to a complete halt on APEC week, creating an instant hot spot for flaring tempers. But alas, our rage was too shallow, too fleeting. We wavered and wobbled, and easily collapsed our fury when two drop-dead gorgeous politicians descended on the tarmac. We gave them rock star treatment like the Pope.

And so the APEC summit zoomed into the chart of the top trending events, second only to the FIBA Asia 2015. It was even the top “What is” search. We can only hope that the “What is APEC” query have resulted in more than just knowledge of the ‘hotties,’ but also  a  modicum of enlightenment on how important economic cooperation is in the global world.

On the funnier side, the number 6  question on the “What is” chart is “What is the meaning of bae?” And we know very well what that means now, right Justin Trudeau?

In moviedom

We know we are a bit constipated when it comes to history. Thus, it is surprising that Antonio Luna was 8th in the top male personalities of the year, and the movie Heneral Luna was 5th in the top movies searched on Google.

Good job, girls and gals. Your curiousity about the fallen hero pushed history up in the trending movie searches — a heroic battle, indeed, for our quest for relevance - but there is just no way it could zoom past the racy flick Fifty Shades of Grey (1st).

Luna shouting “Punyeta” and “Bayan o sarili? Pumili ka!” could jolt us out of our senses but erotica wins hands down. We just fell deliriously in love and in lust with the Dakota Johnson-Jamie Dornan starrer on Valentine’s week and maybe even beyond.

We also got curious about the adventures of Stuart, Kevin and Bob in Minions (2nd), the wild swing of Fast and Furious 7 (3rd), and the grandness of Jurassic World (4th).

What we’ve got for tech

Technology is a universe unto its own. And so the geeks, the non-geeks, and the wannabes had turned to Google the most for information on the iPhone 6s, Samsung Galaxy S6, Apple Watch, iPad Pro, Samsung Galaxy Note 5, Samsung Galaxy J5, HTC One M9, Nexus 6P and Surface Pro 4.

And gadgets weren’t enough. The top 10 apps we were delighted to know more about were: Dubsmash, Bluestacks, Google App, Clash of Clans, Google Street View, Google Translate, Animal Jam, Spotify, Messenger, and Agar.io.

Gail Tan, Google Philippines Head of Communications and Public Affairs, said the trending search terms of 2015 are a good reflection of the Filipinos increasing involvement and interest in the things that are happening around them, whether in historic national events or the breakout of a new pop culture icon.

And what is it that we have in common with the rest of the world? The world’s top trending searches included: Lamar Odom, Jurassic World, American Sniper, Caitlyn Jenner, Ronda Rousey, Paris, Agar.io, Chris Kyle, Falout 4, and Straight Outta Compton. Are we in synch with what the rest of the world are interested in? Go figure.

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