Bassem Youssef most searched celebrity in Egypt, says Google

Satirist named Egypt’s most ‘trending’ person on the web during 2013

Ben Flanagan
Ben Flanagan - Al Arabiya News, Dubai
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The popular satirist Bassem Youssef has been named Egypt’s most-searched person on the web, according to 2013 rankings by Google.

Youssef topped Google’s ‘Zeitgeist’ rankings as Egypt’s top ‘trending’ person of the year, attracting more web inquiries than Egypt's army chief General Abdel Fatah el Sisi and interim President Adly Mansour.

Egypt’s former president Hosni Mubarak, who stepped down in 2011 and appeared in court this year, was ranked by Google as the most-searched politician among users in Egypt. Former President Mohammad Mursi, who was ousted from power in July, and army chief Abdel Fatah El Sisi were the second- and third-most searched people in the political sphere.

The U.S. internet giant found that ‘Ramadan Series 2013’ was the most popular overall search term in Egypt. In the UAE, ‘Ramadan 2013’, ‘iPhone 5S’ and ‘Samsung Galaxy S4’ were the most popular general searches.

“In Egypt people were looking for more political and social figures,” Maha Abouelenein‎, the official spokesperson for Google in the Middle East and North Africa, told Al Arabiya News.

Mohammed Assaf, the Palestinian singer who won the second season of Arab Idol, ranked among the top five ‘trending’ people in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Arab Idol is broadcast by MBC Group, of which Al Arabiya News part.

Abouelenein‎ said that one trend common across the Arab world was the popularity of entertainment-related searches. “People are searching for entertainment, including music, films and TV,” she said.

‘Ramadan Series 2013’, ‘Eid 2013’ and ‘Diwali 2013’ were all among the most popular general searches in the UAE, according to Google’s report. “People were looking for festivals and things that impact their lives,” said Abouelenein.

In the UAE, the late actor Paul Walker, who was due to start filming ‘Fast and Furious 7’ in the UAE this month, was ranked the most-searched person in 2013. Walker died in a fiery car crash on Nov. 30.

Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and Chelsea were ranked the top three most-searched sports teams in the UAE.

It is the 13th year that Google has produced the Zeitgeist (German for “spirit of the times”) report. The study analyzed more than one trillion searches performed globally throughout the year.

The study noted an increase in Arabic-language searches within the Middle East and North Africa.

“In Egypt and Saudi, more people were searching in Arabic,” Abouelenein‎ noted.

Youssef, a former cardiac surgeon, gained enormous popularity among Egyptians and Arab audiences through his satirical show “el-Bernameg” or “The Program”, which launched on YouTube.

El-Bernameg was the most-searched TV show in both Egypt and the UAE during 2013, Google said in its Zeitgeist report.

Youssef earned enormous public support during Egypt’s former Muslim Brotherhood-led government, which came to an end following massive uprisings that toppled Mursi. The satirist upset almost all political sides in Egypt, and has faced legal investigation after his show raised sensitive topics.

Top people searches in Egypt

1. Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef. (Reuters)
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