2014’s Most Searched Terms: Robin Williams, World Cup, Ebola

I find it interesting at the end of each year when Google reveals the top search queries of the past 12 months. It's like taking a condensed trip back in memory lane, and for better or worse, it's also a reflection of society as a whole, the things that interested us and captured our thoughts. In 2014, it was the untimely death of actor, comedian, father, husband, and friend of many, Robin Williams, and if we're picking out silver linings, there's reason to smile about that.

Let me explain. I don't find any happiness in the fact that Williams was disturbed during his final days, and that he ultimately chose to end his life to escape whatever pain -- physical and/or emotional -- he was going through. But I am happy that search terms like "Flappy Bird" (No. 5) didn't come out ahead.

Robin Williams Star
Image Source: Flickr (Antonio Fucito)

I don't get the sense it was out of morbid curiosity that "Robin Williams" led all search terms, but out of a combination of disbelief and varying levels of devastation that we collectively lost such a talented and awesome individual. Minus some unfortunate trolling by a vocal minority on social media sites like Twitter, his death left a void in many people, including those who never met him. Like others I'm sure, I've wondered why his passing affected me the way it did, and perhaps it's because he was like a father figure or at least a friend to all of us through the many characters he played.

In the end, it doesn't matter why -- the feelings of sadness that most of us shared weren't misplaced, as Williams was a genuinely good man, as countless anecdotes by those who met him can attest. So, as we come to an end to 2014, here's one last R.I.P. for Robin Williams and Mrs. Doubtfire, Mork, Aladdin, Popeye, Hunter Patch Adams, John Keating, Sean Maguire, and so many more.

Moving on (I know, there's really no easy way to transition from that, so forgive me on that account), the other top trending searches of 2014 include World Cup (No. 2), Ebola (No. 3), Malaysia Airlines (No. 4), ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (No. 6), ISIS (No. 7), Ferguson (No. 8), Frozen (No. 9), and Ukraine (No. 10).

Paul Lilly ALC Ice Bucket Challenge

It's nice to see the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge make the list, a trend in social media that led to well over $100 million being raised for research into degenerative neurological disease. That tidbit shows the power of places like Facebook, and also reminds that there are still good, caring folk out there -- another win for 2014 in my book.

Not all searches come with deep meanings. For amusement purposes (or marketing, I suppose), you can reference top search queries in a bunch of different topics that Google so kindly arranged. For example, the most searched Beer in 2014 was "Budweiser," coming out ahead of Corona, Keystone, Miller, and Blue Moon, to name the top five (in order).

Check out the top searches in many categories and see what conclusions of your own you can draw.