PH economy is most ‘Googled’ topic in first 6 monthsBy Tina Arceo-Dumlao
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Good news about the country’s improving economic conditions was the most searched topic by Filipinos on Google in the first six months of the year, indicating greater interest in how the economy fared given the economic slowdown in the United States, China and Japan, and the lingering debt crisis in Europe.
According to Google Insights for Search, Filipinos became more interested in the economy, as indicated in the rise in searches in the first six months, following rosy projections presented by international agencies such as the International Monetary Fund. Of particular interest was the report that the Philippine economy—as measured by gross domestic product—could grow faster than the forecast of 4.2 percent this year.
The Asian Development Bank also cited in the Asian Development Outlook 2012 reports that the Philippine economy would improve this year and in 2013, prompting a flurry of searches by Filipinos logging on to the Google search engine.
This search behavior was established through the Google Insights for Search, which analyzes worldwide Google web searches to compute how many searches were done for the terms entered, relative to the total number of searches done on Google over time.
The tool is just one of many that Google uses to come up with Google Zeitgeist, or the spirit of the times. Google reveals this spirit through the aggregation of millions of search queries received every day.
After the economy, the next most searched topic was former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, who figured in a dramatic impeachment trial that culminated with 20 senators finding him guilty of betraying the public trust, thus no longer fit to head the Supreme Court.
Tensions between the Philippines and China due to competing claims over Scarborough or Panatag Shoal also led to more searches on the Internet. Next on the list of hot topics was the Ninoy Aquino International Airport terminal 1, which was named the second-worst airport earlier this year by Frommer’s, an online travel guide.
Then, thanks to a lawmaker calling for a congressional inquiry on the decision of PhilHealth to hike premiums, public interest in Philhealth spiked in the first six months. The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office also made it to the top 10 most searched topics because of the P258-million 6/55 grand lotto draw in February 2012 and the plunder charges against former PCSO general manager Rosario Uriarte and former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Rounding up the list of most searched topics in the first six months were the Commission on Elections, due to the contract for automated elections; mining, after a landslide in Compostela Valley, which killed 27 people in January; Manila floods caused by typhoon Butchoy in June; and then Arroyo, who pleaded not guilty to electoral sabotage. The former President also generated a lot of buzz due to her deteriorating health.
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