More people searched on Google for Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the weeks after his demonetisation announcement than at the height of the 2014 election.
New data on search volumes for 2016 made available by Google on Wednesday show that searches for the Prime Minister began shooting up immediately after his shock announcement on the night of November 8 that existing Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes would no longer be legal tender. Search volumes hit their peak during the week of November 20-26 after which they began to fall sharply.
Google does not make public absolute numbers of searches in its Google Trends section. What it does is create an index from 0-100 of relative popularity of a search term during a given period of time.
The week of November 20-26 hit 100 - peak interest for Modi since his first appearance in Google searches. In comparison, the week of May 11-17 2014 during which the BJP's Lok Sabha campaign ended and their victory was declared has a relative search interest level of 74. Before November 8 this year, the week of that historic election was Modi's Google peak.
An increase in search volumes--while broadly reflecting increased interest--also reflects growing numbers of people online and people searching for things on Google.
The week of November 6-12 this year also saw the peak of searches for the term "black money". At the start of that week, searches for Donald Trump, the Republican Presidential candidate who defeated Hillary Clinton in a shock win, were higher in volume than those for Modi.