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SA search went local in 2017

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The top searches on Google in South Africa shows deepening interest in local news and places, writes BRYAN TURNER.

South Africans are searching more locally now than in previous years, according to Google’s Year In Search analysis, which offers a snapshot of the most popular searches of the year.

It shows that, for 2017, the first seven of the Top 10 Trending Searched Personalities in this country were South African, and six out of the Top 10 Trending Search Terms were directly related to South Africa.

“This is really telling of the society, not just that more people are coming online, but also that South Africans are genuinely interested in South Africa and the surrounds,” says Mich Atagana, head of communications and public affairs for South Africa at Google.

Top personality searches at Google's SA search museum

Top personality searches at Google’s SA “search museum”

Dumi Masilela, an actor from the South African TV show Rhythm City, topped the list of searches after he was killed in an attempted hijacking in August this year. Atagana stressed that Google searches might be becoming more relevant due to more South Africans becoming connected and searching for answers to questions arising from daily situations.

“This year I thought it was very telling of South African society to see a question like ‘What is junk status?’.”

Google’s Year In Search launch event was designed as a museum of searches this year, with various sections split up into visual and interactive categories, auch as portraits of trending personalities, and recipe cards for trending recipes. In the recipe section, the number 1 Trending Searched Recipe was Oxtail, but holds a Top Trending result only in South Africa.

This year Google introduced Top Trending ‘Near Me’, which reveals how people search for places of interest closest to them, using location services within a phone or browser. Only three positions were held by restaurants or food outlets: KFC, Steers and Sushi. The topic winner here was healthcare services, which held four positions in the top 10: Pharmacy, Dentist, Gynaecologist and Doctor.

Atagana said that it was interesting to see that serious questions were brought up in the trending question section, with “What role can the private sector play in poverty alleviation?” sitting at 4th place. However, this may have related to it being a school assignment in the Western Cape. Burning topics like Hurricane Dineo and Bitcoin topped the list of questions.

op Near Me searches at Google's SA search museum

Top Near Me searches at Google’s SA “search museum”

There were some surprises about some personalities not making the top 10 list, such as Donald Trump and the Gupta Family.

“One of my biggest surprises was that there are no Gupta mentions on any of the lists.” said Atagana. “Trump didn’t make our people list either, when we thought he would.”

In the 2016 Year In Search results, Donald Trump ranked 4th in overall trending searches and the Gutpa family ranked 3rd in trending South African politicians and prominent figures.

Top recipe searches at Google's SA "search "museum

Top recipe searches at Google’s SA “search “museum

Top Trending Search Terms in South Africa

Near Me

1) Pharmacy near me
2) Dentist near me
3) KFC near me
4) Jobs hiring near me
5) Hardware store near me
6) Gynecologist near me
7) Printing shops near me
8) Steers near me
9) Sushi near me
10) Doctors near me

Personalities
1) Dumi Masilela
2) Joe Mafela
3) Joost van der Westhuizen
4) Zodwa Wabantu
5) Mandla Hlatshwayo
6) Lundi Tyamara
7) Simphiwe Ngema
8) Grace Mugabe
9) Hugh Hefner
10) Chester Bennington

Questions
1) What is dineo?
2) What is bitcoin?
3) Who won the money fight?
4) What role can the private sector play in poverty alleviation?
5) How to lose belly fat?
6) How old is Simphiwe Ngema?
7) What is happening in Zimbabwe?
8) How to make slime?
9) What is junk status?
10) How to manage xenophobia?

Recipes
1) Oxtail recipes
2) Sweet potato recipes
3) Beef stew recipes
4) Vegan recipes
5) Creamed spinach recipes
6) Halal recipes
7) Prawn recipes
8) Spaghetti recipes
9) Cauliflower recipes
10) Bread recipes

Searches
1) Dumi Masilela
2) Zimbabwe
3) Cyclone Dineo
4) Joe Mafela
5) Karabo Mokoena
6) Joost van der Westhuizen
7) Black Friday
8) Mayweather vs McGregor Fight
9) Fast and Furious 8
10) Hurricane Irma

TV Shows
1) 13 Reasons Why
2) Game of Thrones
3) Isibaya
4) Uzalo
5) Big Brother Naija
6) American Gods
7) Idols SA
8) Sex in the City
9) Big Little Lies
10) Riverdale

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AppDate: Shedding light in our times of darkness

SEAN BACHER’S app roundup highlights two load-shedding apps, along with South AfriCAM, NBA 2K Mobile, Virgin Mobile’s Spot 3.0 and SwiftKey.

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Load Shedding Notifier

With all the uncertainty about when South Africans will next be plunged into darkness by Eskom, the Load Shedding Notifier tries its best to keep up with Eskom’s schedule. The app is very simple to use. Download it, type an area in and click the save button. The app automatically tells you what load shedding stage Eskom is on, the times you can expect to start lighting candles and for how long to burn them.

Multiple areas can be added and one can switch between the different stages to see how each one will affect a certain area.

A grid status is also displayed, showing how strained the country’s electrical network is.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device

EskomSePush Load Shedding App

EskomSePush does much the same as the Load Shedding Notifier, but allows multiple cities to be tracked. However, they may just want to rethink the name of the app if they want wider respectability.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device

South AfriCAM

South AfriCAM enables users to add branded stickers and frames from popular lifestyle magazine titles to their posts, including Huisgenoot, YOU, Drum, Move!, TRUE LOVE, Women’s Health and Men’s Health. 

In the process, they can earn JETPoints for their social influence: through the app’s built-in JET8 social currency, users are rewarded for their engagement. For every in-app like, comment, and share, users earn JETPoints, which can be used to redeem products online or over the counter across more than 2 500 retail stores in South Africa. Users are additionally awarded JETPoints for cross-posting onto external social media networks.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device

Click here to read about console quality graphics on a mobile phone, Virgin Money payments made easier, and an app that redesigns the keyboard.

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Drones to drive
Western Cape agritech

Aerobotics is set to change how farmers treat their crops by using drones and machine learning, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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The Western Cape is poised to be a hotbed of innovation in the agritech sector, with drone piloting set to playing a major role in in the tech start-up scene.

This is the view of Tim Willis, chief operating officer of pioneering drone company Aerobotics, a Cape Town drone company recognised as a world leader in agritech.

“Drone piloting is a key skill that feeds into the value chain of the budding 4th Industrial Revolution,” said Willis. “Cape Town and the Western Cape is uniquely positioned to be the melting pot for innovation in the agritech sector, as a leading agricultural exporter and a hub for creative tech start-ups.”

He was speaking at AeroCon, a drone expo organised by Aerobotics and held in Johannesburg this week aimed at providing opportunities for drone pilots to apply their skills in South Africa, and to show how drones are being used to collect data on crops. 

The event was supported by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA), Wesgro, PROMMAC, MicaSense, and Rectron, among other

“We’re starting to sign up farmers across the country,” said Willis. “It’s exciting because farmers are starting to use drone technology on their farms. When a farmer wants a drone flown, they want it flown [now] so it’s important for us to capture that data as quickly as possible to show that drones are fast and effective.”

According to aerobotics, drone technology can help farmers reduce pesticide use on their crops by up to 30%. The result is environmentally friendly farming, reducing stressed crops and a healthier harvest. 

“We use aerial imagery from drones to recreate a 3D model of every single tree on a farmer’s orchard,” said Willis. “We’ve done this for millions of trees and it starts to give the farmers metrics of what they’re doing. We provide them with the health of the trees, the height, the volume, the canopy area, which enable the farms to make decisions on what to do next.”

Click here to read more about AeroCon and what it offers to those wanting to get into the drone industry.

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