How to pay for Tala loans, check Fuliza limit, get M-Pesa statements and check Credit Reference Bureau (CRB) statuses topped the list of trending Google searches by Kenyans this year.
The search trends, which were released by Google on Monday night, are an indicator of the dire financial situation of a majority of Kenyans, who are now using money-lending apps at an alarming rate.
Reports show money-lending app disbursements have risen to Sh112 billion in the past year while Safaricom’s Fuliza has recovered Sh140 billion in just nine months.
Other topics that trended in the period were the Ineos Challenge, where marathon world record holder Eliud Kipchoge broke the sub two-hour marathon mark and the Likoni Ferry tragedy, where Miriam Kigenda and her daughter Amanda Mutheu lost their lives after their vehicle plunged into the Indian Ocean in October.
While speaking during the release of the Top Trends 2019, Ms Dorothy Ooko, Google head of communication Sub-Saharan Africa, said many Kenyans also searched for topics such as the new currency notes, the recently unveiled Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report, former Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich’s arrest over graft charges, Citizen TV investigative piece, the Mara Heist, and the Kakamega twins who were swapped at birth.
“The year 2019 also saw people search for the Ethiopian Air crash that claimed the lives of 149 passengers and eight crew members, the DusitD2 terror attack in January, the Kibra-by election, the Census 2019 and the KCPE results,” she said.
According to the report, the personalities that trended in 2019 were Bob Collymore who died of leukaemia in July, followed by marathoner Eliud Kipchoge, benga musician John DeMathew, who died in August, Bomet Governor Joyce Laboso and Kibra MP Ken Okoth, who both died in July.
Other personalities that topped Kenya’s Google searches were Tob Cohen after his murder, and Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko following his arrest in Voi after he was implicated in a Sh357 million corruption case.
Socialite Vera Sidika also topped the list following her purposed skin colour change, while Pastor James Ng’ang’a joined the list due to his unorthodox preaching techniques.
Also on the list are former President Daniel Moi’s elder son Jonathan Moi, who died after battling cancer, Moi University student Ivy Wangechi, who was murdered by her estranged boyfriend, and former journalist Esther Arunga, after the ruling on her son’s death in Australia.
TRENDS BY MONTH
The top search in March was the new Inspector-General of Police Hillary Mutyambai, while in April, most Kenyans searched for Huduma Namba. In June, people searched on how to apply for Census jobs.
Last month, people searched for the BBI report, Kibra-by election and the Kenya Airways stowaway incident in London.
“Google’s 2019 Year in Search showcases people, topics, events, and places that captured the world’s attention this year.
''Just as Search can help you explore and discover a world of information, there are many ways to explore the year through the lens of Google Search,” Ms Ooko said.
'HOW TO' SEARCHES
A majority of Kenyans wanted to know “how to file their tax returns”. This was closely followed by “How to apply for a passport” after the government moved passport applications to the E-citizen platform. Kenyans also wanted to know “how to download videos from YouTube”, indicating an interest in the YouTube platform and the content uploaded.
“How to create a website” also topped the list, which could indicate the possible need for Kenyans to create digital platforms where they can host information about their businesses.
In the ''What is'' category, Kenyans searched for ''What is census?'', ''What is Huduma Namba?'' after the mass registration that would see the issuance of new digital identity cards for all Kenyan residents, ''What is xenophobia?'' following the racial bouts of violence in South Africa, ''What is cancer?'' due to the increase in cancer cases which have claimed many lives including prominent names, and ''What is acute myeloid leukaemia?'' following the death of Bob Collymore.
The top searches in sports were the Ineos Challenge, Africa Cup of Nations 2019, the UEFA Nations League, the ICC World Cup 2019, the Rugby World Cup, the English Premier League, the Women's World Cup 2019 and Kariobangi Sharks versus Everton match.
In entertainment, the popular movie and television shows in the Google Search were Game of Thrones Season 8, Money Heist Season 3, Avengers Endgame, Bird Box, When They See Us, Lion King, Hobbs and Shaw and The Joker.