Durban – Sassa’s R350 social relief of distress grant (SRD) was South Africa’s top trending search term for the second year in a row.
Google said that trending items that made it onto the list included social grants, the war in Ukraine and the Fifa World Cup.
Google revealed what South Africans were searching for, who the top trending person was and what movies or TV shows and sports fixtures South Africans were looking for.
Google’s Year in Search is an annual analysis that reveals the top trending lists, and spotlights what the world searches to see, learn and do. In a year characterised by increased load shedding, the war in Ukraine, the Qatar World Cup and the deaths of a number of high-profile South Africans, the public turned to Google for more information.
Google released its Year in Search for 2022 on Wednesday.
Google SA country director Dr Alistair Mokoena said: “The annual Year in Search results are a good example of Google’s commitment to organising the world’s information and making it universally accessible and useful, in action. This year’s results show that Google is a trusted source of information when South Africans are uncertain, sad, or looking for ways to learn more or entertain themselves.”
Google said that for the second year in a row, the top trending search term in South Africa related to social grants as South Africans sought to find out more about the R350 Sassa SRD grant.
Wordle, the online word game that captured the world’s attention, was the second most searched term, followed by climate change.
Other top trending searches were related to the war in Ukraine, load shedding, typhoid fever and monkeypox, Google said.
American rapper Jaden Smith topped the list of people South Africans searched for, followed in second place by his father Will Smith, who was searched alongside Chris Rock after the slapping incident at the Oscars. Johnny Depp and Amber Heard occupied third and fourth places after their protracted and public court case.
The deaths of high-profile people in the music industry marked a sad year for music in South Africa.
Rapper Riky Rick was the most searched loss. South Africans also turned to Google to find out more after the deaths of musicians DJ Sumbody, Takeoff and DJ Dimplez.
“Big Brother Mzansi” was the most searched-for TV show or movie in South Africa, with the Addams Family adaptation “Wednesday” in second place. “Black Panther 2” and “Wakanda Forever” both featured in the top 10 trending searches for TV shows and movies, Google said.
It said that football occupied the top three searches, with World Cup 2022 fixtures as the top trending sport search, followed by Afcon and South Africa’s women’s football team, Banyana Banyana. The rest of the top 10 featured searches for tennis (Australian Open), rugby (Springboks v All Blacks) and cricket (South Africa v India).
Google added that curiosity remained high among citizens, with a variety of questions around climate change, current affairs and pop culture being searched. Some of these searches included “what is global warming”, “what is drought”, “who is the new Black Panther” and “how to check matric results online”.