What The World Was Wondering: Top Google Searches Of 2014

Samantha Kilgore - Author

Dec. 16 2014, Updated 12:47 p.m. ET

What was the world wondering about in 2014? Google can tell you. The internet search giant recently released its annual report on the year’s top searches worldwide. While Apple, Facebook and other companies do similar year-end recaps, those particular reports only show what we have bought or posted publicly, while the Google report shows an accurate picture of what the world was actually wondering about over the past year. As Heather Kelly of CNN says, Google’s particular year-end recap “is a more honest, sometimes embarrassing, peek into what we really care about.”

Last year, Google showed us that the world just wanted to twerk. In 2014, though, a lot of us just wanted to know whether or not we had Ebola.

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Celebrity deaths always seem to top Google’s year-end list, and this year was no different. In fact, celebrity deaths dominate Google searches to the point that Google finally added a special category of “trending celebrity losses” just to explore the subject. In 2014, the world mourned the loss of great comedian and actor Robin Williams, and his cause of suicide led many turning to Google to learn about asphyxia. Following Google searches on Robin Williams were searches on Joan Rivers, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jan Hooks, and Maya Angelou, all of whom passed in 2014.

But people around the world love celebrities who are alive, too. The most popular celebrities searched worldwide were Jennifer Lawrence and Kim Kardashian. French actress Julie Gayet popped up third on the list, presumably because of the allegations that she had an affair with the president of France, Francois Holland. Tracy Morgan and his horrible car accident sent a lot of people online to discover more, and the world’s curiosity over Renee Zellweger’s new look also created a lot of buzz over the internet. In the U.S., people were particularly curious about NFL’s Ray Rice and domestic abuse, and NASCAR driver Tony Stewart unfortunately became a trending search on Google after he killed fellow NASCAR racer Kevin Ward, Jr. in a race.

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People also continued to use Google to ask questions that they may have been too embarrassed to ask another person. In 20014’s top “What is…” Google queries, people were asking about Ebola, ALS (presumably spurred on by the Ice Bucket Challenge), ISIS, Bitcoin, and, as mentioned previously, asphyxia. And as for what people wanted to know how to do, apparently the world was concerned with how to correctly contour with makeup, how to vote, how to craft — and how to kiss.

People around the world weren’t just worried about whether or not they had Ebola in 2014, either. Flu, pregnancy, and Asperger’s syndrome all made the top health concerns and symptom searches in 2014.

Google’s annual report gives a unique and brutally honest perspective of what occupied the world during 2014. Around the world, people worried about Ebola and celebrated the World Cup, read about celebrities — both alive and those who had passed — learned about ISIS, and wanted to vote. Tell us what you think — did you search for any of these terms on Google yourself, or did the list surprise you in any way? Let us know in the comment section below!

[Image via the Guardian]


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