Here’s what Google searches said about the world in 2014

2015 is almost upon us, and roundups and retrospectives of the last year are coming thick and fast. The latest comes courtesy of Google: The search giant has looked back over the last “Year of Search” to put together key facts and figures about what people cared about, worried over, wanted to know more of—and above all searched for in 2014. 

Robin Williams dominated the year, the legendary comic’s death causing his name to peak as the single most-popular trending term in the entirety of 2014. Over major geopolitical events including Ebola, the Malaysia Airlines disasters and Sochi Olympics trailed behind, while Jennifer Lawrence topped the list of most-searched people—likely sparked in part by the leaking of intimate photos of her and dozens of other celebrities in what has been dubbed “Celebgate.”

Of the trillions of searches carried out in 2014, here are a few of the biggest

Searches

  1. Robin Williams
  2. World Cup
  3. Ebola
  4. Malaysia Airlines
  5. ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
  6. Flappy Bird
  7. Conchita Wurst
  8. ISIS
  9. Frozen
  10. Sochi Olympics

People

  1. Jennifer Lawrence
  2. Kim Kardashian
  3. Julie Gayet
  4. Tracy Morgan
  5. Renee Zellweger
  6. Jared Leto
  7. Lorde
  8. Matthew McConaughey
  9. Amal Alamuddin
  10. Donald Sterling

Global News

  1. Ebola
  2. ISIS
  3. Malaysia Airlines
  4. Crimea / Ukraine
  5. Ferguson
  6. Gaza and Israel 
  7. Scottish Referendum
  8. Oscar Pistorius Trial 

TechCrunch makes an important point about the search terms—that they relate to year-on-year change rather than “raw frequency… If it were just raw frequency, Google says the most popular searches wouldn’t change much.”

Lastly, because Google also owns YouTube, here are the 10 most popular viral videos of the last 12 months:

YouTube Videos

  1. Mutant Giant Spider Dog (SA Wardega)

  2. Nike Football: Winner Stays. ft. Ronaldo, Neymar Jr., Rooney, Ibrahimović, Iniesta & more
    (Sorry, this embed was not found.)

  3. FIRST KISS

  4. The Voice IT | Serie 2 | Blind 2 | Suor Cristina Scuccia – #TEAMJ-AX 

  5. iPhone 6 Plus Bend Test 

  6. Bars & Melody – Simon Cowell’s Golden Buzzer act | Britain’s Got Talent 2014 

  7. Budweiser Super Bowl XLVIII Commercial — “Puppy Love” 
    (Sorry, this embed was not found.)

  8. Devil Baby Attack

  9. Goku vs Superman. Epic Rap Battles of History Season 3. 

  10. 10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman 

For more information, Google has dug into the search trends in greater detail on a dedicated site, google.com/2014.

Screengrabs via Google/YouTube | Remix by Rob Price

Rob Price

Rob Price

Rob Price is a technology and politics reporter who served as the U.K.-based morning editor for the Daily Dot until 2014. He now works as the news editor for Business Insider, and his work has appeared in Vice, Slate, the Washington Post, and the Independent.