Sports, current affairs, movies and technology dominated the trending Google searches in South Africa in 2023.
Search giant Google yesterday announced the South African results of its “2023 Year in Search” trends, revealing the terms, people, topics, questions and events that captured the attention of the public in the past 12 months.
Now in its 25th year, Google’s “Year in Search” looks back at the year and collates what topics each region was most interested in, providing insights into what was top of mind for people during the year.
This year’s searches show local users were interested in the Cricket and Rugby World Cups, which soared to the top of the most searched sporting events by South Africans. Four-time Rugby World Cup winners the Springboks reigned supreme on the most searched athletes list.
On the technology list, users wanted to know all things artificial intelligence (AI), in particular ChatGPT, which is the language model-based chatbot designed by San Francisco-based start-up OpenAI.
The launch of OpenAI’s ChatGPT last November brought to public attention the power of generative AI technology. Since then, Google’s Bard, Microsoft’s Bing AI and Elon Musk's xAI have been launched.
DStv Stream, iPhone 15 and the Titanic submarine were also on the technology top five list.
Among celebrities and media personalities who passed away this year, rapper, producer and businessman Kiernan Forbes, also known as AKA, topped the search list for loss. Another South African rapper − Costantinos Tsobanoglou, better known as Costa Titch − was the second most searched individual in this category.
The Barbie movie, which grossed over $1.4 billion at the box office, was top of SA's most searched movies and TV shows, followed by biographical thriller film Oppenheimer and local drama series Shaka Ilembe.
Convicted criminal Thabo Bester and media personality and DJ Cyan Boujee were the top two most searched individuals in the country, with both appearing in headlines various times in the past 12 months.
South Africans’ online searches also revealed a diverse range of interests, including literary comparisons and health concerns. “How is poetry different to other writing genres?” and “How are mumps spread?” are the top second and third general questions South Africans asked. The most searched general question this year concerned singer Celine Dion's well-being.
To view all the top trending searches by South Africans in 2023, click here.