Google searches mirror new normal: WFH jobs, e-courses

Internet search queries — “work from home jobs”, “online course”, “how to sell online” and “certificate course” — were among those recording highest growth in India during 2020 compared with 2019, according to Google’s annual ‘Year in Search’ report for 2020.

While the query “work from home jobs” saw a 140 per cent growth in 2020 over 2019 across India, the phrase “online course” saw 85 per cent growth. Searches for “certificate course” saw 50 per cent on-year growth and “how to sell online” saw over 65 per cent increase in searches.

On March 25, 2020, the Central government implemented a lockdown that forced companies to shut their offices, and this compelled staff to work from home. Also, thousands of employees who lost their jobs were also confined to their homes as a result of the lockdown — something that would explain the surge in search queries for “work from home jobs” on Google.

According to Google’s trends data with a time range of 2004 to present, peak interest in the phrase was recorded in July 2020, following a sharp upward slope, which began forming February 2020 onwards. In July last year, the interest in the search query is represented by the number ‘100’, which is the peak popularity for the term. A value of 50 means that the term is half as popular as when it was 100. A score of 0 means that there was not enough data for this term. In November 2020, the popularity went down to 57, and in March, as of Thursday, it stood at 76, representing an uptick again.

During 2020, the term “work from home jobs” saw the highest interest in Telangana, followed by Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Puducherry and Maharashtra. Specifically, with regard to cities, internet users in the Maharashtrian city of Mira-Bhayandar made the highest number of searches for “work from home jobs”, followed by Secunderabad, Thane, Hyderabad, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Ghaziabad, Bengaluru, Navi Mumbai, Visakhapatnam and Mysuru.

Similarly, interest in the search phrase “online course” peaked during April, with the maximum interest coming from Thane, Salem, Noida, Kanpur, Gurgaon, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Coimbatore, Ghaziabad, Vadodara and Navi Mumbai. As per Google, “… demand for connected devices saw a massive surge with ‘second hand laptops’ recording a more than 60 per cent rise in search queries YoY”. “These behaviours were coupled with increasing comfort with transacting online with more than 60 per cent YoY in searches for “how to pay online”, compared to being flat last year,” it said.

“The combination of the uncertainty of 2020 and the accelerated digital adoption in the year saw Indians leverage their time spent online for the determined pursuit of progress,” states Google’s annual ‘Year in Search’ report for 2020. The search data in the report, titled ‘India’s determined progress’, confirms the “geographical expansion of new digital users in tier 2/3/4 locations and rural India,” it said.



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