From Robin Williams to Flappy Bird, here’s what we Googled in 2014.
Google clocked trillions of searches worldwide in 2014, but one man managed to steal the spotlight: The late Robin Williams landed the No. 1 spot in the global trends charts.
The comedian and actor passed away in August, prompting folks around the world to search for more information and remember the star. Williams’s untimely death led people to revisit some of his most iconic film and TV roles, but also inspired many to research depression and mental health, according to Google.
Sports were again a hot topic in 2014: From the Winter Olympics in Sochi to the World Cup in Brazil, Web users came together over the Internet to keep up with their favorite athletes and events.
They also assembled online to participate in one of the most viral awareness campaigns in the history of the Web. This year, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, better known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, reached what Google called an all-time high around the world, thanks to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
A sensation among everyday people and celebrities alike, dumping cold water on people managed to wake the world up to finding a cure for ALS; donations reached almost $100 million.
But it wasn’t all fun and games this year: Ebola, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, and ISIS also dominated Google’s search box, as people looked for answers and comfort on the Internet.
In short, “we were struck by the death of a beloved comedian, and watched news unfold about a horrific plane crash and terrifying disease,” Amit Singhal, senior vice president of Search, wrote in a blog post. “We were captivated by the beautiful game, and had fun with birds, a bucket of ice, and a frozen princess.”
Visit Google’s Year in Search page for in-depth coverage of the top stories of 2014—from the rise of the selfie “to understanding if we search for ‘how’ more than ‘why,’ each chapter shares a glimpse into the people and events that drove this year forward,” Singhal said.
Among the tech- and science-related searches were those in hunt for Oscar winner Jared Leto’s Instagram account, queries about a real-life Hoverboard and how to teleport, Flappy Bird cheats, and the Rosetta spacecraft.
The search giant also made some changes over the past 12 months, most notably making it easier to find this year’s trending topics directly from Google Search. Type “google 2014” for a look at the top trending lists from around the world, or keep up with the #YearInSearch hashtag.
“So take a moment to appreciate what this year had to offer,” Singhal wrote. “It’ll be 2015 before you know it.”
For a look back, see what we searched for in 2013, and check out our roundup of the top Google Search tips in the slideshow above.