The top five COVID-19 keywords searched were ‘COVID-19 updates’, ‘Symptoms of COVID-19’, ‘COVID-19 treatment’, ‘COVID-19 death toll’ and ‘live COVID-19 tracker.’ People also mass-searched for ‘lockdown in India,’ ‘vaccine for coronavirus,’ ‘social distancing’, and ‘Hydroxychloroquine for coronavirus’. The latter is an anti-malarial drug that the US President Donald Trump described as a “game changer” in the fight against the Coronavirus crisis.
During the pre-lockdown phase, actor Priyanka Chopra was the most searched female celebrity followed by Katrina Kaif and Deepika Padukone. All this changed when ‘Babydoll’ singer Kanika Kapoor tested positive for COVID-19 on her return from London. Kapoor replaced these superstars to take the top spot and even ran into trouble for not self-quarantining on return.
Post-lockdown, superstars Amitabh Bachchan and Rajinikanth topped the list of most searched male celebs.
Yahoo’s ‘Search in the Lockdown,’ chronicles and compares what users in India searched for before and during the lockdown, shows trends that are based on users’ daily search habits in the last one month. Before COVID-19 began to rule the search bar, the top search keywords online for news, included ‘Delhi election results,’ ‘Delhi riots/Delhi violence’ and ‘JNU violence’. The top searched keywords (people) included Donald Trump, Arvind Kejriwal and Jyotiraditya Scindia.
During the global shutdown, netizens are also looking online for productivity tools while working from home, with video conferencing apps Zoom and Skype being the top two searches.
In the entertainment arena, searches for ‘Bigg Boss’, ‘Drive’, ‘Tanhaji’, ‘Housefull 4’ and ‘Good Newwz’ were replaced by the old classic ‘Ramayan’ that was re-telecast on Doordarshan. Pandemic based movie ‘Contagion’ was also highly searched.
Top questions Indians looked for answers to online during the lockdown are: What is COVID-19? How long does coronavirus live on surfaces? How to make a mask at home? Is there any vaccine for Coronavirus? Does Coronavirus spread through air? What happens to Coronavirus patients in quarantine?