Tragedy Dominates, Apple iPhone 6, Samsung Galaxy S5 Miss the Top Ten Google Searches 2014

Google top 10 searches 2014

In what has become a New Year’s tradition and a fascinating look at ourselves, Google released the annual roundup of the top global searches for 2014. Judging from the top ten, 2014 was actually a bit of a traumatic year for everyone.

Though its top searches roundup is clearly a promotional tool for Google (see the video below), it happens to be a mirror for society as well, since Google is still the one dominant search engine around the world. The top searches can tell us what we were most interested in, for sure, but it can also reflect the mood of the connected side of humanity as a whole.

So this year’s 2014 top ten Google searches roundup is particularly interesting because it was dominated by unforeseeable — and sad or worrisome — events, and not as much by popular consumer tech products, which held three spots out of the top ten Google searches last year. By the way, the very fact might be worth some worry from the tech industry as a whole, and Apple and Samsung in particular.

Top Ten Google Searches of 2014

Google listed the global and U.S. top ten searches for 2014 — along with a half other lists by category — on their interactive Trends site (which is fascinating and worth a couple hours of browsing).

Here are the top ten most searched subjects for the U.S. and globally:

Top Ten U.S. Google Searches for 2014:

1. Robin Williams

2. World Cup

3. Ebola

4. Malaysia Airlines

5. Flappy Bird

6. ALS Ice Bucket Challenge


8. Ferguson

9. Frozen

10. Ukraine

Interestingly, the global list closely mirrors the U.S. top ten:

1. Robin Williams

2. World Cup

3. Ebola

4. Malaysia Airlines

5. ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

6. Flappy Bird

7. Conchita Wurst


9. Frozen

10. Sochi Olympics

Tragedy and Dread

As mentioned, the top ten list is dominated by one personal tragedy that became the world’s loss: Robin Williams’ suicide. Perhaps it’s not surprising it’s in the number one spot on both lists, given the global reach of Williams’ star power, mixed with the fact that his death was so shocking and seemingly out-of-the-blue.

Ebola and Malaysia Airlines were both dread-inducing, tragic, and simply hard not to follow news events (and lest we forget, “Malaysia Airlines” happened twice).

For most, the same “if it bleeds, it leads” explanation cannot be attributed to the World Cup — though Brazilians probably wouldn’t agree for a couple of reasons. But Ferguson, ISIS and Ukraine do follow that pattern as well.

Hope, Fun, and Curiosity

It wasn’t all doom and gloom in 2014, though. Frozen set the world on fire (pardon the contradictory pun) with its soundtrack, while the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge became a viral hit, with new celebrities, media figures, and politicians taking part in the incredibly heartening, silly, and wildly successful fundraising meme.

Meanwhile, while most of us in the U.S. might have missed it, Austrian singer, recording artist, and gorgeously bearded drag queen persona Conchita Wurst’s win at Eurovision 2014 (think American Idol but for all of Europe) caught the world’s curiosity.

Where’s the Tech?

Perhaps a raving mix of frustration and addiction drove Flappy Bird to the top of both lists, but it’s interestingly the only technology item in the top ten.

Compare that to the top Google searches in 2013, which included the PlayStation 4, iPhone 5s, and Samsung Galaxy S4, among the viral hits, celebrity deaths, and tragic events in that top ten.

While Sony probably shouldn’t worry about the PlayStation’s disappearance from the list this year, Samsung and Apple may want to doublecheck their Internet clout and hype machines, since neither could get this year’s flagship product into the overall top ten.

Still, both the iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S5 reigned in the top consumer electronics searches, according to The Next Web, and Google’s Nexus 6 hit the number three spot, though it was the last of those to be announced and released.

What do you think about the top ten searches roundup? What if something big happens in the next two weeks — should Google then re-release its top ten? Let us know in the comments!