What Google Users Think About Africa

It is a well-known feature of Google. Start typing in a search, and Google offers suggestions before you have even finished typing. Google says that the suggestions it shows reflect what many people are searching for — and thus think.

How does Google Instant’s Autocomplete Come Up With Those Suggestions?


Suggestions Based On Real Searches

The suggestions that Google offers all come from how people actually search. For example, type in the word “ticket” and Google suggests:

These are all real searches that have been done by other people. Popularity is a factor in what Google shows. If many people who start typing in “ticket” then go on to type “ticket from Nigeria to USA,” that can help make “ticket from Nigeria to USA” appear as a suggestion.

Google says they use other factors also to determine what to show beyond popularity. However, that word suggested comes from real search activity by Google users.

Suggestions Can Vary By Region and Language

Not everyone sees the same suggestions. For example, above in the list is “ticket from Nigeria to USA.” I see that, because I live in Nigeria and Nigerians fly more to USA, UK and Dubai more than any other destination in the world.

Language also has an impact. Different suggestions will appear if you have told Google that you prefer to search in a particular language, or based on the language Google assumes you use, as determined by your browser’s settings.

Previously Searched Suggestions
Google’s suggestions may also contain things you have searched for before, if you make use of Google’s web history feature.

How Suggestions Are Ranked

Popularity is a factor, but some less popular searches might be shown above more popular ones, if Google deems them more relevant, the company says. Personalized searches will always come before others. Google Autocomplete also has what the company calls a “freshness layer.” If there are terms that suddenly spike in popularity in the short-term, these can appear as suggestions, even if they haven’t gained long-term popularity.

What Google Users Think about Africa and Africans


These Google autocomplete suggestions: “Africa is in which continent” “Africa is a country” “is Africa in Europe” “is Africa in South America” show that most Google users lack basic geography knowledge of the world they live in and that very little is known about Africa.

Yesterday (April 1st), it was published on Washington Post that “two weary professors gave up the fight to convince Americans that Africa is not, in fact, a country. Conceding defeat, Assistant Professors Laura Seay and Kim Yi Dionne threw in the metaphorical towel on Friday morning. They were the last holdouts in a decades-long struggle against the forces of poorly informed journalism, eurocentric educational curricula, and Irish pop stars who peaked in 1987.”

“How did we miss that this fight was one we could never win?” cried Dionne. “I mean, there’s even a website. And if it’s on the Google, it must be true.”

Google says it, so it must be true. (Google)

When Dionne notified her friend and frequent co-author, Boniface Dulani (formerly of the University of Malawi and now of the University of Africa [*Editor’s note: At the moment, several hundred universities claim this name.]), he said, “I don’t understand. Here in Malawi – I mean Africa – we don’t have this problem.”

The funniest part of the gist is that “most Google users” that cannot tell whether Africa is a continent or a country and thinks Africa is in Europe also thinks African are lazy.

What Google Users Think about Nigeria, South Africa and Ghana


Many Google users do not think Nigeria and Ghana are countries. They think Nigeria and Ghana are states or province in a country most probably called “The United States of Africa”. They think Nigeria is an Islamic state though not a terrorist state. They do not even know that South Africa is in Africa as the name implies.

They think South Africa is an amazing country probably because of the Safari but also think South Africa is doomed and not safe. I think the South African government needs a good PR team because this thought is not good. The autocomplete suggestions for Ghana indicate that most google users do not even know whether the word “Ghana is the name of a food or a place.


The suggestions for Nigeria largely indicate that the many Nigerian Google users are unemployed and many are looking for uniform jobs. Most Google users (Africans probably) admires South Africa and are wondering if the country is a developed country or a third world country.

Nigerians like calling their country, “the Giant of Africa”. However, Google is suggesting that Nigerians are not too sure if Nigeria is truly, the giant of Africa thus them asking questions like “is South Africa better than Nigeria?” “Is Ghana better than Nigeria?” “Is Ghana richer than Nigeria”.

These questions reflect the longtime rivalry over supremacy between Nigeria and Ghana on one side, and Nigeria and South Africa on the other side.

What Google Users Think about Kenya and Egypt


Google suggests most Google user do not know Egypt is in Africa. They think Egypt is located in the Middle East just like Iraq. They know that Kenya is a country in Africa but they do not what part of Africa the country is located.

The thoughts of Google search users about Africa and Africans is both hilarious and disappointing. The rate of ignorance is unbelievable. Western media continues to tell single story about Africa and Africans.

In the eyes of the west, Africa is still a dark continent so dark that they cannot tell the difference between a man from Kenya and a man from Malawi.


Most of the people who use Google search engine live in USA, Canada, Russia, Brazil, India, Europe Union and Australia. In each of these countries or region, Google has more than 70% of search engine market.


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