CHENNAI: As Chennai reeled under the onslaught of the unprecedented deluge from December 1-3, a large portion of the city was cut off from cyber space. However, Google’s Trends data for 2015 indicate that ‘Chennai floods’ was one of the highest searched terms in the country. In fact, this period recorded the highest search interest in Chennai since the time Google started.
‘Chennai floods’ and related search terms were keyed into the Google search bar over 26 million times, going by this year’s trends data. To put this in perspective, Europe’s migrant crisis was searched over 23 million times worldwide; water on Mars over 10 million times, and the Paris terror attacks a whopping 897 million times.
Among the top questions asked were ‘Why does Chennai flood during rain’ and ‘When will the rain end’, reflecting the apprehension of netizens. And the searches poured in not only from Tamil Nadu, but also from neighbouring states and all over the world. Top searches about the disaster came in from Bengaluru, New Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai. Incidentally, several trucks of relief material for the city flooded in from Bengaluru on a daily basis — provisions, blankets and all the basic needs.
Interest in floods began during the first spell of heavy rain from November 16-25. It started picking up again on December 1 — when the city rewrote 100-year rain records, receiving 272 mm of rainfall, according to Skymet weather. It peaked on December 3, falling back to normal levels by December 15.
An interesting tidbit — the number of searches were higher in Coimbatore region than in Chennai, which was cut off from mobile and Internet networks.
The other TN connect was Bahubali, which ranked second among the most searched movies of 2015 in India. Among top-rankers, Sunny Leone retained her top spot for the second year, while Salman Khan edged out PM Modi for the second place.
Kalam 3rd on List
Late President APJ Abdul Kalam, who died on July 27 delivering a lecture at IIM Shillong, was the third-most searched person in the country this year. Interest in Kalam was among the highest in Odisha, where several of Missile Man’s launches took place. The State has in fact, renamed its missile launching station Wheeler Island as Abdul Kalam island.