What Indonesia’s top Google searches of the year tell us about 2016

Just as the best way to find out what is really on somebody’s mind is to secretly peek at their browser history, the best way to find out what is on a country’s collective mind is to see what they are searching for on Google. The search giant just released their end of year lists on the top searches on various topics in countries around the world and the results from Indonesia give us some fascinating insights into what we were thinking about in 2016.


It might shock you to learn that the overall top search from Indonesia this year was “Pokemon Go”. If so, you clearly have a short memory because for a while there everybody in Indonesia with a smartphone was going Pokemon Go crazy (and that was before the game was even officially released here). Of course, everybody kinda lost interest in the game after a while, but still, remember when we caught a Voltorb in Monas? Exciting times.

“Gerhana Matahari” (solar eclipse) came in second due to Indonesia’s excellent position for viewing the total eclipse that took place in March. “Timnas Indonesia” (Indonesian National Team) of course got a big boost recently thanks to our boys’ amazing performance in the AFF Suzuki Cup, while “Gempa Aceh” (Aceh earthquake) showed the country’s concern for one of the year’s biggest national disasters and “Donald Trump” showed our concern for the year’s biggest political disaster.


It’s no surprise that Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama topped the list of searches about Indonesian figures this year given the endless coverage of his alleged blasphemy (the man who almost singlehandedly created that controversy with his edited version of Ahok’s speech in the Thousand Islands that went viral, Buni Yani, came in third). The Indonesian internet was also clearly fascinated by the return of Sri Mulyani as Economics Minister as shown by her second place finish. Wayan Mirna Salihin, the woman that a Jakarta court convicted Jessica Kumala Wongso of killing at the end of the infamous cyanide coffee murder case, came in at fourth. Golkar politician Nusron Wahid also made the top five.



Topping the list of national events that people in Indonesia searched for this year was “Bom Sarinah” (Sarinah Bombing), the terrorist attack in Jakarta that claimed the lives of four victims and four terrorists back in January. In second is “Gafatar”, the religious minority sect whose community was attacked by an angry mob in January and whose leaders were arrested for blasphemy and treason in another ugly display of Indonesia’s rising religious intolerance. “Kasus Dimas Kanjeng” or the case of Dimas Kanjeng, the cult leader who claimed to be able to magically create money and was arrested on murder charges, came in third. “Harga rokok” (price of cigarettes) was another major concern for Indonesians this year due to rumors that the price of packs could go up to Rp 50,000 (which of course did not happen), as was the case of Yuyun, a 13-year-old girl who was brutally raped and murdered in April and whose death became a rallying cry for activists wanting to highlight the horrifying pattern of violence against women in Indonesia.

Other notable search terms from Indonesia this year included the “Panama Papers” (the most searched about international event, probably due to the large number of Indonesians that appeared in them), “Liliyana Natsir” (the Gold medal-winning badminton player was the most searched athlete), “The Conjuring 2” (most searched movie title), “Meme Valak” (the most searched for meme was about a character in the Conjuring 2), Samsung Z2 (the most searched for gadget) and “Dia – Anji” (the most searched for song).

To see what else was on our country’s mind this year, you can check out the complete results of Google’s Year in Search 2016 right here.

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