In 2014, Koreans were just checking the day’s weather on Google. This year, they were keen for information on the Middle East respiratory syndrome.
Google Korea on Tuesday announced a list of the year’s top searches, an honest, sometimes embarrassing, peek into what Koreans cared about over the past year.
Searches for “MERS” soared from May 20 when the first patient was confirmed in Korea, then peaked in June. Searches for other diseases such as SARS and H1N1 also surged along with those for N95 masks, hand sanitizers and ECMO, or extra corporeal membrane oxygenation, an alternative to CPR.
Along with MERS, “NamuWiki” and ”waterpark molka” (hidden camera) were top search terms.
NamuWiki is a Korean version of Wikipedia that was launched in April. The community site is based on a Korean wiki, called RigvedaWiki, which started in 2007.
Waterpark molka dominated Google following the leak online of video footage showing a women’s locker room at a local water resort. Two people were sentenced to prison terms for filming and selling the video.
Singer Yewon and actress Lee Tae-im also topped the list after they were engaged in a verbal row while filming for a TV show.
Other top keywords included: “IS,” the Islamic State; “Keangnam Enterprises,” the construction company at the center of a recent bribery scandal; “Honey Butter Chips,” Haitai’s hugely popular potato chip; “Kingsman,” the spy movie; and “Tivoli,” Ssangyong Motor’s hot-selling compact sport utility vehicle.
By Lee Ji-yoon (firstname.lastname@example.org