EghtesadOnline: As 2017 draws to a close Google has published the list of trending queries of different nations.
Available on trends.google.com, the report can be modified to show what grabbed the attention of Iranian Internet-surfers in a year dominated by a presidential election and natural phenomena.
The report is divided in two parts to include the most searched words and the top trending terms, according to Financial Tribune.
In Persian script four words, ‘picture’, ‘movie’, ‘Iran’ and ‘game’ respectively were the most searched terms on Google in the country, followed by Telegram, the most popular messaging application in Iran — the app has over 40 million active users. After Telegram, come queries like ‘download movies’, ‘news’, Divar (local online sales service) and ‘sports’.
The top seven trending searches of Iranians respectively were: the so-called ‘Justice Shares’ (shares of public entities that were transferred by government to vulnerable social classes), Snapp (major ride-hailing service), Blue Whale, earthquake, DigiStyle (online clothing retailer), Peugeot 2008, and BAM (Bank Melli’s electronic banking platform).
While many Iranians rely on social media platforms like Telegram for news, some turned to Google for answers. Google trends report can be modified to check what people searched for on Google’s news tab. Some news topics and keywords which grabbed interest online were related to the statesman and former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, earthquake, US travel ban and North Korea.
Curiously, the May 19 presidential election in which Hassan Rouhani was reelected does not appear in any of the aforementioned categories.
The so-called justice shares are shares of public entities that were transferred by the government of former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2007 to “vulnerable social classes”. To prevent the owners from selling their shares immediately, their resale was barred; though no one could sell anything anyway, as owners did not know and still do not know what they own in the first place.
After more than a decade in March, the dividend for the so-called Justice Shares, held by more than 49 million Iranians, was said to be worth 550 trillion rials ($14.5 billion).
In a stagnating economy, with high unemployment and recession where low-income households struggle to make ends meet, it is not surprising that people were interested in what the state is selling as a “harbinger of economic justice”.
Established in 2014, Snapp is one of the major Iranian ride-hailing services. Co-owned by Germany’s Rocket Internet and MTN-Irancell through its holding company, Iran Internet Group, the company is active in major Iranian cities including, Tehran, Karaj, Isfahan, Shiraz, Mashhad and Qom.
During 2017, the company introduced two new services namely, food delivery and motorbike package delivery.
The Blue Whale Game, also known as “Blue Whale Challenge”, is a social network phenomenon that seemingly exists in several countries since the beginning in 2016. The ‘game’ reportedly consists of a series of tasks assigned to players by administrators over a 50-day period, with the final challenge requiring the player to commit suicide.
The ‘game’ came to prominence in October and created a wave of moral panic among Iranians on social media networks when two child suicides were linked to it.
Later, local authorities denied the news saying that the suicide cases were not related to the online challenge. However, social experts urged parents to be careful of what their youngsters do online. The Telecoms Ministry has also pledged to introduce online parental control mechanisms.
A 7.3-magnitude earthquake shook the western province of Kermanshah and the regions bordering Iraq in November killing 500 people and injuring 7,000 others.
Later, a magnitude 5.2 earthquake rattled the city of Meshkindasht 50km west of Tehran in Alborz Province in December.
Internet came handy especially after the second disaster with “post-earthquake guide” going viral on social media networks.
Apparel online shop DigiStyle is a spinoff of Digikala Iran’s leading online retailer. The business offers popular clothing brands with discounts and has targeted the youth of well-to-do families enamored with style and brands.
The local carmaker Iran Khodro signed a €400-million joint venture with Peugeot in June 2016. Several models are to be produced in Iran through the deal and under the French brand’s named, including the Peugeot 2008 SUV.
The vehicles assembly line was inaugurated in May. However, IKCO so far has been struggling to produce the car. According to the Industries Ministry, IKCO has assembled only four units of the model. This is while soon after the inauguration ceremony IKCO started presales of the model. In a few days, 16,000 units were presold with customers paying 600 million rials ($15,000) in down payment.
Since May, the model’s name and its production have made way into news headlines time and again with locals slamming the company over delayed delivery.
Bank Melli’s electronic banking application, which was launched in 2016, gained traction in 2017 with the business upgrading the system to become more user-friendly.
The application has Android and iOS versions available for download on local Android app store Café Bazaar and BMI’s website. Reportedly, the general loan allocation system of BMI will be connected to BAM so that clients can file for loans without having to go to bank branches.