Google Zeitgeist 2010 report shows what Asia is searching for online

Google is arguably one of the most insightful sites on the Web, so its Zeitgeist 2010 report for Asia, which looks at the region’s most popular search terms on the service is an interesting a read as one would expect.

The below table of (translated) contents from an excellent post at The Next Web Asia:

RankHong KongChinaSingaporeJapan
1World CupBaiduXinmsnYouTube
2Guo JingjingQQiPadYahoo
4iPad4399World Cup 2010Mixi
5Chen QiaowenHao123iPhone 4gHotmail
6Riverside163Universal Studios SingaporeAmazon
7InceptionUuseeJustin BieberRakuten
9iPhone 4TudouYogMsn
10Book Fair 2010Kaixin001Resort World SentosaGmail
RankMalaysiaThailandPhillipinesSouth Korea
1Proton InspiraAngel Music Baby.JejemonObjective
2iPadiPadiPadMC Mong
3Benci Bilang CintaiPhone 4.Pyramid lyricsPark Goals
4World Cup 2010The Star 6.Facebook emoticonsGimjisu
5Justin BieberOtic music.Justin BieberInfant
6FBFacebook.Plants vs ZombiesJonghyun
7Utusan Online TerkiniBall table.GleeiPad SelangorYouTube.TumblrKim So
9Didi gamesPhotoscape.CrossfireArashi
10FIFARamkhamhaeng University.Google Chrome downloadTwitter

It seems that despite a growing global understanding of Indonesia’s significance online, that the country is not yet featured in Google’s report, as TNW highlights. India is also a notable absentee from the list.

From the TNW post comes the following analysis and summary:

What can we learn?

In this most unscientific of surveys we can reach the following conclusions.

  • Social networks, online shopping and video are popular in China.
  • Japan is definitely into social networks (interesting that Facebook comes third in Google’s list but only thirty-eighth in Yahoo’s.  Now that Yahoo! has been cleared to use Google’s search in Japan, the two should be closer in next year’s results)
  • Hong Kong is more interested in sport (or the scandals behind the sport)
  • Everyone wants an iPad.
  • Ironically, in the year that Google pulled out of China, the country’s top search was for Baidu.

Looking at Thailand, my land of residence, in isolation it is clear just how the country has changed in terms of technology and internet consumption.

Facebook, iPad, iPhone 4 and YouTube are all foreign-influenced search terms that rank highly in a country which typically sees its own Thai-based search terms as the most popular (incidently, this is likely down to the fact that there is little Thai content on the web not originating from Thailand, which restricts the web browsing habits of those not comfortable with English.) There are of course, a large number of Thai specific search terms in the top 10, chiefly influenced by music.

The breakdown of Thai trends according to subject (here) is also interesting too.

My three picks below demonstrate how Thai content – in this case celebrities – is so strong in Thailand whilst the technology list shows that Facebook, Apple, BlackBerry and other tech products dominate the thinking of many Thai consumers online.

I will likely post again on Google’s report and other interesting trends and conclusions that can be taken from it.

Additionally: This Bangkok Post article makes a (somewhat laboured but nonetheless) insightful comment that the search terms shows that Google and the web are not just for those living in urban areas any longer. Arguably one of the year’s biggest trends in technology in Thailand has been increased access to the internet (predominantly from mobile) which has allowed more of those in rural and semi-rural areas to get online.

I was mortified for not knowing [Korean boy band] “CN Blue”, the top search term from Thailand in the personality section…The second most searched term in this section is “Zee”, an equally lustrous Thai songster who, I swear, looks frighteningly similar to a CN Blue singer, though I’m still not sure which one.

In the news category, politics and disaster dominate the minds of Thai Googlers, meaning all of us. The top term is “satanakarn sua daeng” (Red Shirt situation), followed by “khao nam tuam” (news about floods) and “ja pian”, or Sarge Pian, a southern policeman killed in action. The more graphic terms, “arisman nhee” (Arisman flees, apparently referring to his Spider-Man stunt abseiling down the side of a hotel) and “central world talom” (Central World collapses) rank 6th and 9th respectively. “Seh Daeng”, the military firebrand whose death in May remains unresolved – and outrageously un-investigated – comes in fifth.

In the “fastest-rising” division, the second on the list is iPad, but the topper clearly shows that the internet is no longer just a tool (or toy) for urbanites and Bangkok-centric tastemakers: the top search term is pleng luk tevada (literally “son of a divine being”), the name of a country song sung in a juicy south-northeastern dialect – the Thai version is actually adapted from a Khmer original.

So, on Google’s top hits, we have on the one hand Zee, an echo of the Korean craze, then we have this regional number lifted from a Cambodian chart. The Thai zeitgeist is laid bare for all.