November 2015 is a great month for the Philippine Internet

Last month was great for the Philippine Internet.
No, I’m not going to say our Internet speed is finally as fast as Singapore’s. And, no, this isn’t because we trended worldwide again because of a TV show.
I’ve been tracking what has been read, watched and shared most in the Philippines for a year now.  (You can check out my early compilations here).  Last week, I noticed two things that stood out.

What happened in November 2015 that was so important?

There were two things that got my attention:

  1.  For the first time, all the top Philippine searches were not driven by Metro Manila. Or CALABARZON.

    The second most-searched word in the Philippines wasn’t even in Metro Manila’s top 5.

The second-highest search term was driven by Central Luzon, for two whole weeks in November 2015.

 

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The search phrase that was part of the top Philippine searches, but not in Metro Manila or CALABARZON:
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Yes, Central Luzon looked for Adele’s newest song more than people in or closer to Metro Manila.
Added context:
These were the most searched for phrases in the Philippines that were unique to November 2015 (“Rising keyword searches):

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And these were the search keywords we Metro Manilans were occupied with:

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It was Central Luzon (and to some extent, the Davao region) that pushed the “hello” searches to the top 2 spot for the month.

On to the second new and special thing.

 

2.  There are now a significant volume of searches in 7 more regions in the Philippines!

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In the past years, there wasn’t a significant enough volume of usage for Google to measure Google searches in other areas.

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Until now.

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When I started collecting search data, Google could only measure the rising search keywords in Metro Manila (e.g. Quezon City, Manila, Caloocan), CALABARZON (e.g. Antipolo, Dasmarinas, Bacoor), Central Visayas (e.g. Cebu City, Mandaue City and Lapu-Lapu City) and the Davao Region (e.g. Davao City, General Santos City and the City of Tagum).

Now, it can measure rising searches in 13 Philippine regions.

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Why do these two developments make it a great day for the Philippines?

We’ll start to see the real potential of the Internet in our country, versus broadcast media.

“Hyperlocal”

For years, the American Internet / Web (please tell me if there’s a better way to phrase that) and particularly news outfits have been talking about “hyperlocal”.
With broadcast media, you can only do so much to make extremely locally relevant (town, municipality or niche community level) news.  You would need to set-up a formal infrastructure, using company resources just to make sure different towns get content that’s relevant to them.
BUT, the Internet changed that in nations with more widespread internet usage – bloggers, podcasts, websites could be written from anywhere and be relevant to niche communities across the country, and not only be driven by formal institutions in capital cities.

Personal choice (Control) and Distributed power (Reach)

In the Philippines, without enough connectivity throughout the country, most of the online buzz was still driven and controlled by Metro Manila, and Cebu City.
But now, finally:  we really get to see how online media differentiates itself from “broadcast” media, in terms of reach and control (personalization, always-on).
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We get to see how the different regions, cities and towns begin to have their own subcultures and patterns and see how it impacts the country’s media tastes.
I did nationwide qualitative research for years, and I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time.  The day I’ll start to see the rest of the country have a voice in what gets shared and what is popular, as opposed to just the “key cities”.  Our country is so diverse, and for me, this just means it’s going to be a pretty exciting year for the Philippine Internet.

Check back week-to-week, I’ll do my best to share regular updates.  And if you want to help create something out of data like this, get in touch.

 

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Google wants to know what I love.

There is something about this new quirk from Google that tugs at my heart.  Or at least evokes some sort of feeling – much more than Google+, at least.  Which they launched with much more fanfare.

It’s probably the phrasing of the question, I know.  The quaintness of it, the femininity, the allusion to passion for something.  It’s just a much more “human” service than Google+ seems to be.  I’ll talk about Google+ more later on, though.

Implied Intimacy

The “what do you love?” experience starts subtly enough – like a little tap on the shoulder once you open the Google page.  I think that’s a very smart move – to make the entry point almost like a whisper, something you’d miss if you didn’t read closely enough.  Adds to the intimacy and exclusivity of it.

Then you get to answer their “question” in a search field next to an icon button with a chubby heart on it! (like I said – soft and feminine.  I have to ask some men about their reactions to this.)

And once you enter what you like, voila!  It’s not always really useful (the search results, I mean.  Maybe my expectations were too high. Like expecting chocolate chip cookie art and analytics to start tumbling out), but there is a happy smorgasboard about whatever it is that you typed.  Sadly, the results didn’t pique my interest enough for me to click on any of them.  Since, as someone who loves what I entered in the search field (chocolate chip cookies), I’ve already had my share of images and sites on the topic already anyway, and the results didn’t offer anything compellingly new.

But! I did take a screenshot of the page because a whole set of content boxes on cookies just makes me happy.

Aside from seeming emotive, it’s also quite clever of Google to try to create a platform (actually a subtle ploy) for exposing people to their roster of products and services, as engadget points out. via Techcrunch.

Allusion to Fun-ness Trumps Practicality

I can imagine that it may be practical (easier navigation of a variety of results when you’re stalking…something), although generally I just think it’s a fun quirk from Google.  I am also particularly interested in the “trending” though.  I want to see what most people will type into the field, so I’m looking forward to those stats.

Definitely something that won me over more easily than Google +, though.  But we’ll see how my behavior will be impacted over time.

Google+, Supposedly Social

Maybe I’m not Google+’s main market, but there seems to be something stringent about it.  And I’m not even going to discuss how not-intuitive it is to navigate.  I’ll just focus on how it makes me feel – which is like the virtual counterpart of a doctor’s clinic.

I find it odd though that I feel that way.  It seems to have a sparer, but more playful interface, compared to facebook’s pretty straightforward layout.  But despite that, Google+ feels more pragmatic than friendly.  Or maybe it just needs to build its base of users still.  I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.