These are the top 10 most searched Technology related terms in Kenya in 2013


Google’s traditional listing of the hottest trends every year, the Zeitgeist, for the year 2013 is out. 2013 ends in the next 13 days so it is time to take stock of what we’ve been searching for on the internet. For Kenyans, that includes things like how to love, how to seduce (seriously?), how to meditate and a whole bevy of soap operas airing on local TV channels. Last year technology took a back seat as most of the things Kenyans went online to search for were not related to technology save for things like ‘What is IMEI’ that trended thanks in part to CCK’s directive that all counterfeit phones be deactivated by network service providers. For those Kenyans that wanted to know anything to do with whatever technology they use or encounter in their daily lives, these were the 10 most searched on Google this ending year:

1. Wi-Fi


You obviously know what Wi-Fi is and probably you may be reading this article from such a connection. Wireless hotspots are becoming such a hit with Kenyans. Most of the time wireless hotspots are open or use a public key and can be accessed by anyone at no cost. That is likely what makes the term “Wi-Fi” such a curious term to most Kenyans who just bought their first smartphone or computer and are eager to connect to the internet without incurring huge costs that are associated with mobile service providers’ data plans. To tap into the popularity of Wi-Fi and even increase usage, Kenya’s largest network operator by subscriber base, Safaricom, went ahead and launched a product that allowed commuters in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, to connect to wireless hotspots in public transport (matatus). Dubbed Vuma Onlineit is an interesting product/project/initiative.

2. LinkedIn

Why the social professional network made it to this list I have no idea but maybe it is because more and more Kenyans were looking for ways in which they could get exposed to potential employers or career opportunities. Definitely LinkedIn is the better place to start and many who were likely just used to Facebook and other conventional social media platforms had to take time to hit the search bar in a quest to find out what LinkedIn was.

3. BBM

Blackberry Messenger has been huge this year. Not for the whole year but towards the end. As can be evidenced by the traffic on this site, interest on BBM increased a lot when the app was finally made available on Android and iOS. This propelled it to one of the most searched for tech related terms in 2013.


M-PESA is a mobile money transfer service operated by Kenya’s telecommunications giant Safaricom. There are many reasons Kenyans would go to Google to search for M-PESA. This could have to do with many things like using M-PESA to pay utility bills like water and electricity and the new Lipa na M-PESA service that simplifies the whole process of paying for goods from shops and merchants around the country.

5. Extranet

Well, unless freshmen in Kenyan universities undertaking IT-related courses decided to Google up what the word “extranet” meant, I have no idea why it appears in the Zeitgeist.

6. Faiba


Faiba is a product from Jamii Telecommunications Limited (JTL) popularized by video animation commercials that Kenyans have come to love. Either those videos or the product itself must have led to the increased interest in Faiba that led to many having to search for it on Google.

7. Email


8. Android

Android logo

Android is by far the most dominant mobile operating system in Kenya at the moment amongst smartphone owners. As more and more people in emerging markets like Kenya learn about smartphones and even start using them, for the curious type, this will be something they’ll always ask about.

9. Computer

Seriously? Peculiar Kenyans.

10. MMS

I have no idea why MMS is here but since most people are really interested in it means my long held view that folks weren’t interested in MMS anymore in this day and age when you can simply upload photos to Facebook through a data bundle subscription for as low as Ksh 5 or others like Chatitude or simply use applications like Whatsapp is not that realistic. Maybe it is because many find something to do with MMS when they check their messaging app’s settings or when they type a really long message and instead of it being sent in parts the smartphone being as smart as it is, sends it as a multimedia message instead. This happens, I know.


See what Kenyans searched for in 2013 through Google search here.

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Emmanuel writes on mobile hardware, software and platforms.