Google just released its annual Year in Search, in which it ranked the top 10 trending searches in 2014 that got the biggest boost in search traffic this year compared to last year. (The actual “most popular” list would be pretty boring, Google says, because it wouldn’t change much: We search for generic stuff like “weather” and “Google” year after year, although I’m convinced that this list is more interesting than the search engine is letting on).
This year’s top 10 trending searches is both predictable, and fascinating, offering up a snapshot of our national psyche; it’s a shorthand for the people, places and things that captivated our attention and left us wanting to learn more.
The list is a mixed bag, ranging from serious crises, to big events, to Internet and entertainment trends. No. 1, however, is poignantly predictable: Robin Williams. The actor and comedian took his own life in August, and his passing unleashed an outpouring of searches.
From there, we have a major global event (the World Cup, at No. 2), troubling international news topics (Ebola, at No. 3, Malaysia Airlines, No. 4, ISIS, No. 7, and Ukraine, rounding out the list at No. 10) as well as domestic protests (Ferguson, 8), and a viral charity campaign that took the Internet by storm, raising millions for Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, 6).
But two items on the list strike a considerably less serious tone: Disney’s out-of-the-ballpark animated hit Frozen, which tells the tale of two sisters, nabbed the No. 9 spot (not a surprise, if you have kids or know kids or know of anyone who has kids).
Meanwhile, ringing in at No. 5 on the trending search topics this year we have…Flappy Bird.
Flappy Bird? Seriously? Yes, the ridiculously difficult mobile game was a cultural sensation, coming out of seemingly nowhere and quickly flapping its way to the top of the app charts, but did the game really leave such an impact on our collective curiosity? Apparently, yes, yes it absolutely did.
Check out the full list below:
1. Robin Williams
2. World Cup
4. Malaysia Airlines
5. Flappy Bird
6. ALS Ice Bucket Challenge