Google's 2014 Top Searches: Robin Williams, World Cup, Ebola, and More

Here's your 2014 Google Zeitgeist, better known as the last 12 months in Google Search. The company does this every year, and it's always fascinating because search sheds light, however disappointingly, onto what the heck people on earth are thinking about. Because when you want to know more about something, you Google it.


As with the 2014 trending YouTube videos we listed last week, these searches are "trends," which don't necessarily reflect the most searched terms overall. These are the terms that exploded in popularity at certain times.

The overall search trends in the United States and globally look pretty similar. They include some of the most shocking and exciting news events of the year: The death of Robin Williams, the Ebola outbreak, the Malaysia Airlines disasters, and of course, the World Cup. You'll note that Ukraine and Ferguson trend in the United States but not globally.

Global Trending 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

US Trending Searches

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

Speaking of Robin Williams, the deaths of famous people are frequently amongst the most discussed stories each year. Here are the passings we couldn't let go.

US Trending Celebrity Losses

  1. Robin Williams
  2. Joan Rivers
  3. Philip Seymour Hoffman
  4. Maya Angelou
  5. Jan Hooks
  6. Harold Ramis
  7. Shirley Temple
  8. Lauren Bacall
  9. Mickey Rooney
  10. James Avery

Dead people are the only ones to cause a stir. The living dominate the list of trending global people searches. We search for people like Jennifer Lawrence and Matthew McConaughey because we love them. But others show up on this list because they've fallen into disgrace: I'm looking at you Donald Sterling.


Wait. Where is Taylor Swift?

Global Trending 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 Almamuddin
  10. Donald Sterling

And our disappointment doesn't end there. 2014's most trending athlete in Google Search is Ray Rice, the football star who made headlines for physically attacking his wife.


US Trending Athletes

  1. Ray Rice
  2. Adrian Peterson
  3. Richard Sherman
  4. Paul George
  5. Carmelo Anthony
  6. Derek Jeter
  7. Johnny Manziel
  8. Russell Wilson
  9. Tony Gwynn
  10. Tim Howard

I'll end on gadgets—this is Gizmodo after all. The trending list includes obvious trendsetters like the iPhone, but others are a little more surprising to those of us who spend our lives looking at these things.


Global Trending Consumer Electronics

  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

As a whole the trending searches paint a picture of humanity in 2014 that's paradoxically both unsurprising and interesting. We can't defy our nature: Year after miserable year we're driven to hysteria by the same damn things, and every year, it's fun to look back and see what drove us mad during the preceding 12 months. There's way more on the Google Search Trends page so go check it out. [Google]