Google's top search terms of 2015 reveal Asia's differing web tastes

The Google logo displayed on a smartphone.
The Google logo displayed on a smartphone.PHOTO: AFP

HONG KONG (Bloomberg) - Google, the world's largest search engine, released its annual lists of the most-searched terms on a country-by country basis this week.

While the differences between the Asian regions' search habits can be explained in part by web restrictions and varying degrees of press freedom, the lists do give a snapshot of the collective mindset of Asia's populations. A China list is conspicuous by its absence as the search giant is blocked in the land of the Great Firewall.

Apple-mania pushed the iPhone 6s to the top of the search list in smartphone-obsessed Hong Kong, with the rest of the search list focusing on popular television personalities and shows such as The Greed of Man, first shown in 1992 and re-aired this year.

Singaporeans had more weighty concerns. Haze from Indonesia's fires and the death of Singapore's first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew took the top spots in a list dominated by news events.


Sentimental Vietnamese propelled the titles of three love songs to the top of their list, while nine of the top search terms in neighbouring Thailand related to music videos or TV shows.

In Japan, Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was the top search term, as two Japanese hostages were killed and the minister for public safety warned the country was at threat of cyber attack, while Koreans hunted for information on Mers after the country recorded its first cases of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.

Globally, Asian nations did not feature in the top 10 list, which was dominated by US Sports stars, movies and actors.