From ebola to Flappy Bird: These are the most popular Google Searches of 2014

Ian Paul
17 December, 2014
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Google, searches, 2014, macworld australiaGoogle just released its annual retrospective on what the world was searching for in 2014. The company has apparently given up on calling its year in review the Google Zeitgeist and opted for the more humble “Year in Search.” The lists include everything from top trending overall searches to top trending GIFs.

The story behind the story: Although it’s stopped using the moniker, Zeitgeist was an entirely appropriate name for Google’s yearly top trending search lists. As the most popular search engine in the world, Google has a special insight into what the world is thinking about at any given time. Google has used this ability to track flu hotspots (albeit with reportedly mixed results) and aid in disasters. At the end of the calendar year, it’s always interesting to see what the world was most fascinated with during the previous twelve months.

What topped the lists

The tragic death of Robin Williams, who took his own life in August, topped the global top trending searches for 2014, falling third in Australia. Williams was trumped by the World Cup and the Malaysia Airlines disaster in Australia. In the overall global searches the World Cup took second place, Ebola third and Malaysia Airlines in fourth.

Once you leave the top four the global and Australian search lists begin to diverge in placement, but not a whole lot on topics. Overall, Google’s global user base was fascinated with the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, Flappy Bird, ISIS, Frozen and the Sochi Olympics. Conchita Wurst, the Austrian drag queen who won the Eurovision talent contest in May, was also a big search around the world.

The passing of Charlotte Dawson in February was the fourth highest search term in Australia for 2014. And the Philip Hughes cricket tragedy finished fifth in Australia, demonstrating the profound impact of his death in the short time since he was struck by a ball while playing for South Australia against New South Wales.

Things got a little interesting when it came to tech.

The world was largely focused on smartphones in 2014. Seven of the top 10 spots were taken up by handset including the iPhone 6 (#1), Samsung Galaxy S5(#2), Nexus 6 (#3), Moto G (#4), Galaxy Note 4 (#5), LG G3 (#6) and Nokia X (#7).

The world was also interested in the Xbox One, which came in at number 7 on the global trending list. Sony’s PlayStation 4, however, did not crack the top 10 on the global trending lists. Sony’s console has led the sales contest between the two next-gen consoles, but the Xbox One recently won a small victory when it overtook the new PlayStation in terms of sales for the month of November.

It appears Sony may have had the sales for most of 2014, but the hearts of gamers and tech fans were still with Microsoft’s console.

The complete global tech list is below. Check out Google’s Year in Search site to explore all the other lists for global results and a country-by-country breakdown.

Top Trending Consumer Electronics, Global:

  1. iPhone 6
  2. Samsung Galaxy S5
  3. Nexus 6
  4. Moto G
  5. Samsung Note 4
  6. LG G3
  7. Xbox One
  8. Apple Watch
  9. Nokia X
  10. iPad Air

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