Kyiv 2017

The Eurosearch Song Contest: What if Google searches were used to award points?

Since 2016, each Eurovision country has awarded two sets of 12 points. The professional juries decide one set of votes while televoters at home decide the other. However, what if phone calls and SMS votes didn’t determine the televoting points? Instead, what if Google searches, and Google searches alone, were the deciding factor? Maarten Lambrechts, in collaboration with the Google News Lab, has found out exactly what would happen if this had been the case for the contest in Kyiv earlier this month.

How the Eurosearch Song Contest was created

Lambrechts collected the Google search data on May 12th. This was one day before the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest final and analyses the searches from the seven days leading up to this day. The searches that formed the basis of the analysis were the country’s participating act and the word “Eurovision.

For example, Lambrechts states how he would find out how many points a country would award Belgium. He would analyse how many people from a country searched for “Blanche Eurovision” in comparison to the other 25 finalists. Where possible, he also made allowances for spelling errors by using “topics” rather than exact “search strings”. Also, he explains that there was too little search activity for all of San Marino’s points to be awarded.

So what were the results?

Lambrechts tells the whole story of his so-called Eurosearch Song Contest perfectly via its official website. Now you what he did to create this alternate voting result, have a read of exactly what this result was by clicking below:

The Eurosearch Song Contest

We’ve summarised a couple of the key points below. Nevertheless, we really encourage you read Lambrechts’ work in full by clicking the link above. There you will be able to interact with his statistics and properly immerse yourself into the analysis.

How did Australia do so well?

Indeed, you will discover that Portugal would still have won the televoting element of the contest if the televoting was replaced by Google searches as its voting mechanism. However, Australia would have finished second instead of 25th. Lambrechts speculates that this is because a number of people would’ve searched to find out why Isaiah was representing a country that is thousands of miles away from Europe.

Also notable is Israel’s significantly higher finish in the Google search rankings in comparison to its actual televote finish. This is perhaps for a similar reason to that of Australia, just to a lesser extent. Nevertheless, overall there are substantial similarities between the Google search results and the actual televote results. Lambrechts also explains that Google searches would’ve predicted 15 of the 20 semi-final qualifiers correctly.

Find out more about how the idea became reality!

If you have found the story and making of the Eurosearch Song Contest as fascinating as we did, do give the following web page a read. Here, Lambrechts gives a very detailed explanation as to exactly how the idea came to fruition.

Making-of: The Eurosearch Song Contest

Do any of the results surprise you? Perhaps you even think Google searches, or even just internet voting, is something that will be incorporated into the Eurovision Song Contest in the future? Let us know what you think in the comments below and via our social media channels @ESCXTRA!

Ryan Cobb

My first memory of watching the Eurovision Song Contest was back in 2001 and, over the years, my passion and enthusiasm for the contest has very much turned into an obsession. I adore music and I love geography, so this contest is a natural fit for me. If la la loving Eurovision was a crime, I'd certainly be a criminal!

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