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Google Zeitgeist: Zakumi, Vuvuzelas and the infamous Suarez moment

The vuvuzela has certainly been one of the biggest talking points of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and has since crossed beyond South Africa’s borders into other countries. Even celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio have been spotted with their lips around the plastic phenomenon.

Google Zeitgeist, a service that provides insight into global, national, past and present search trends, has revealed a few surprising findings about what interests us about this World Cup. For example, some of the findings reveal that the United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates are the top countries searching for places to buy the vuvuzela, Uruguay is crazy over World Cup mascot Zakumi and South Africans are besotted with Paris Hilton.

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Here are the top five Google Zeitgeist findings:

1. United Kingdom the number one vuvuzela country: Despite all the complaints about the noise the vuvuzela creates, the instrument has caught the attention of the British public. The number one country that has used Google to search for “places to buy a vuvuzela” is in fact the United Kingdom. British supermarket chain Sainsbury has sold more than 20 000 of the plastic instruments during the tournament. In second place is the United States and thirdly, believe it or not, the United Arab Emirates. A big order from a Sheik perhaps?

2. Uruguay loves Zakumi: South Americans are fascinated with Zakumi. Uruguay is the country with the most searches for Sepp Blatter’s cuddly, furry mascot, followed by Peru, Argentina and Venezuela. The majority of searches took place shortly before the Bafana-Uruguay clash, which the South Americans won 3-0. Could the wily South Americans have given Zakumi a virus shortly before the game, which might explain the poor performance of the host nation?

3. Americans and Louis Suarez moment: The infamous Louis Suarez handball during the dying moments of the Uruguay vs Ghana game led to a surge in searches to see that moment. Most of the interest came from the United States. This could be explained by the fact that many Americans didn’t watch the game in real-time, but heard about the controversy afterwards. Or perhaps it was just the moment that most resembled their beloved basketball?

4. Shakira and the Bangladesh connection: You would suppose that most interest in the official World Cup song, “Waka Waka”, would come from Colombia due to the Shakira connection, or possibly from East Africa where the original song “Zangalewa” originated? You would be wrong. Apparently nobody can match the Bangladeshis when it comes to searches for the official World Cup theme song, closely followed by Paraguay and — believe it or not — Mauritius.

5. Forget Travolta, South Africans are obsessed with Paris Hilton: The World Cup has brought many celebrities to African shores, including John Travolta and Mick Jagger. But it was Paris Hilton that was the big feature in Google searches. The whirlwind that is Paris Hilton touched down on South African shores during the World Cup, and it seems locals were not immune to her charisma. South Africa topped all other countries in searches for Paris Hilton over the last few weeks, particularly after her glamorous arrival at Lanseria and her brush with the law in Port Elizabeth.

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