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From Robin Williams to MH370: this was Google's 'Year in Search'

From Robin Williams to MH370: this was Google's 'Year in Search'

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The new year is almost upon us, and that means that it's time for Google's quantified look back at the most searched people, trends, and events of 2014. Formerly referred to as "Zeitgeist," the collection has been rebranded as the "Year in Search" this time around, and it offers great insight into how people around the world use the most popular search engine. The top global trending search of 2014 was the story of Robin Williams' death, followed by the World Cup and Ebola.

"mh370 found" was searched far more often than "mh370 lost"

The Year in Search rounds up things on a macro level with big, beautiful "story" pages for each top result that compile all the related information and makes it easier to grasp in a visual. But it also offers a deep dive into the details of how people searched for these terms, and what specifics they were looking for. While the lost Malaysian Airlines plane MH370 was one of the top searches, for example, Google was able to parse that "mh370 found" was searched far more often than "mh370 lost" and searches for depression tests and mental health increased in the wake of Williams' death.

Google Year in Search gif

Missing from this year's global top 10 was the tech hardware that made up a good portion of last year's list — the iPhone 5s, Samsung Galaxy S4, and PlayStation 4 ranked third, eighth, and ninth respectively in 2013. Technology was represented in more specific lists, however. For example Google broke out a category for trending consumer electronics, and mobile hardware dominated that list — it was topped by the iPhone 6, the Samsung Galaxy S5, the Nexus 6, the Moto G, and Samsung's Galaxy Note 4. Also, the most trending "How to..." search was "How to AirDrop," which replaced last year's less technological winner: "How to twerk."

More of the year's biggest global searches included supremely viral hits — like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and Flappy Bird — as well as the biggest global news stories, like the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the Winter Olympics in Sochi.