In the past week Google released its Trends data for 2012, providing insights into what the world looked up over the course of a year. Unfortunately Google Trends in Lebanon is not as sophisticated as it is for larger markets such as the United States, so doing searches in categories is not possible. Nevertheless we have sought to dig out what the Lebanese searched for in 2012.
While Future Movement leader Saad Hariri may not have been in Lebanon much in 2012, this doesn’t appear to have stopped him dominating political discussion online. The head of the opposition, who left the country in early 2011, has been active on Twitter in the past year and his name was Googled more than any other politician's inside Lebanon. However this number must be qualified by the fact that many people Googling Hariri were in fact looking for the airport that bears the name of his late father and former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
Note: The graphs are relative comparisons, whereby 100 represents the peak search period and the rest are relative to that number. If you hover over the graphs, you can see the data more clearly.
However worldwide Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah was a more popular search online, with spikes including when he was interviewed on Julian Assange’s Russian TV chat show in April.
No surprises at the top of this list as Internet behemoth Facebook is again the most Googled search term in Lebanon in 2012, followed in the same order as in 2011 by Google and Youtube (which is owned by Google). The big riser, however, was Whatsapp – the free messaging service for smartphones – coming in fourth having been only the 11th most searched company in 2011.
1. Truecaller (4,150%)
2. Viber (250%)
3. Whatsapp (170%)
4. Samsung (120%)
5. HTC (110%)
The rise of Truecaller in Lebanon has been incredibly steep and the inventor of the mobile and online app, which allows you to find out who called from an unknown number, has been discussing its success with Executive.
Lebanon's five largest banks in terms of assets are, in order, Bank Audi, Blom Bank, Byblos Bank, Fransabank and Bank Med and that order is replicated in Google searches with Audi far more searched for online than its rivals.
The Syria crisis posed the most immediate threat to Lebanon in 2012 but does not appear to have preoccupied people’s minds. France was in fact the most Googled country, followed by the USA and Syria.
If Google is an indication of who the Lebanese were supporting at the European Football Championships, held in Ukraine and Poland in June, then it seems they were not rooting for the eventual winners Spain. Runners-up Italy were in fact the most Googled country during the final week of the tournament, followed by Germany and then Spain.
2012 was the year of Wael Kfoury, as the singer releashed his first album since 2007 and topped the charts with hits such as "Ya Dalli Ya Rouhi." His name was Googled more than other stars such as Elissa, Nancy Ajram and Haifa Wehbe – all of whom had successful years.
15 minutes of fame award
There can only be one winner for this: Myriam Klink. The "3ANTER" singer's hit about her pet pussy cat provoked one of the biggest temporary spikes of the year in Lebanese Google searches.
The first chart, without Klink, shows Haifa Wehbe, Nancy Ajram and Elissa as the top three Googled female artists overall, with the legendary Fairuz trailing a long way behind.
But the second graph, with Klink, shows that for a brief period in June she was all the Lebanese were looking up. This spike coincided with a satirical comedy show hosted by Nemr Abou Nassar in which he turned his wrath onto the blond singer's 'talents'.