Robin Williams, Ebola, ISIS and Ferguson: What the United States searched for in 2014

The World Cup, Robin Williams and Ebola were among the most searched topics on Google in 2014.

Robin Williams' suicide seared into the world's collective mindset more than anything else this year, based on what people were searching for on Google.

The reaction to Williams' death in August topped Google's list of 2014's fastest-rising search requests. It beat notable events such as the World Cup, the Ebola outbreak, the March disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and the Ice Bucket Challenge, an Internet video craze to raise awareness and money for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's Disease.

Top U.S. Google Searches of 2014

  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


Other topics of worldwide intrigue on Google included the addictive smartphone game "Flappy Bird," bearded drag queen Conchita Wurst, the Middle East extremist group ISIS, the hit Disney movie "Frozen" and the Winter Olympics in Russia.

Williams, Ebola, the World Cup and the Ice Bucket also ranked among the most-discussed subjects this year on Facebook, which released its list last week. Google released its list Tuesday.

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Williams' death drove many people to reminisce about his career highlights. In the first few days after his suicide, there was a six-fold increase in the number of Google searches for "carpe diem" - a Latin phrase for "seize the day" that Williams popularized in the film "Dead Poets Society." Reports about Williams' long-running battle with depression caused searches for that term to triple. There was also a flurry of searches about his movies (the top five were: "Mrs. Doubtfire," ''Dead Poets Society," ''Good Will Hunting," ''Jumanji" and "Patch Adams.")

Google's worldwide list of the year's hottest search requests mirrored the activity in the U.S. with a few exceptions. Wurst didn't make the Top 10 list in the U.S., nor did the Winter Olympics. Instead, Web surfers in the U.S. were seeking more information about the August confrontation that culminated in a white policeman shooting and killing Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Ukraine's conflict with Russia also held more intrigue in the U.S. than the rest of the world.

Top Global Google Searches of 2014

  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



Google's review follows annual roundups compiled during the previous two weeks by its main search rivals. Although Google's list usually comes last each year, its rankings typically provide more telling insights into what people were thinking because the company's technology processes about two out of every three search requests made on the Internet.

Story written by the Associated Press.

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