Every year, Google comes out with it’s Zeitgeist; now aptly named the “Year in Search”. In this, Google details what countries, and the world, have been searching for over the past 12 months.
The results offer an oddly fascinating glimpse inside the mind of the world’s population over the past year, and what exactly they’ve been thinking about. It has a weird sense of nostalgia, allowing you to think back to the biggest events in 2014; even if they weren’t so long ago.
It’s very relevant because it allows us to see how people are using Google and Search Engines online, and what people are really searching for in general. Whether it’s breaking news, a celebrity death, or a sporting event; people in their thousands would Google the phenomenon in question, allowing Google to quantify exactly what we have had on our minds.
Below, we’ve trudged through the data, and reported some of the more interesting search result categories:
- Robin Williams
- World Cup
- Malaysia Airlines
- ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
- Flappy Bird
- Conchita Wurst
- Sochi Olympics
It’s interesting to see how the loss of Robin Williams was the biggest global search term this year; managing to top the World Cup, the Ebola Crisis, and the Maysian Airline disaster. Quite amazing.
- Malaysia Airlines
- Crimea / Ukraine
- Gaza and Israel
- Scotish Referendum
- Oscar Pistorius trial
No surprises here really; but it is fascinating to see the order in which these news stories were searched for, showing us what people were most curious or interested in.
Global YouTube Videos
- Mutant Giant Spider Dog (SA Wardega)
- Nike Football: Winner Stays. ft. Ronaldo, Neymar Jr., Rooney, Ibrahimović, Iniesta & more
- FIRST KISS
- The Voice IT | Serie 2 | Blind 2 | Suor Cristina Scuccia – #TEAMJ-AX
- iPhone 6 Plus Bend Test
- Bars & Melody – Simon Cowell’s Golden Buzzer act | Britain’s Got Talent 2014
- Budweiser Super Bowl XLVIII Commercial — “Puppy Love”
- Devil Baby Attack
- Goku vs Superman. Epic Rap Battles of History Season 3.
- 10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman
This list interested me because of the mix between branded and viral videos. Global YouTube Videos was topped by the now-famous “Mutant Giant Spider Dog”, and then a branded Nike Football video featuring Ronaldo, Rooney, and a host of other football stars. At 5, we find the iPhone 6 Plus Bend Test, demonstrating what happens when your products don’t quite live up to the hype.
UK News Stories
- Malaysian Airways Disasters
- Luis Suarez Bite
- Scottish Independence Referendum
- Sir Cliff Richard Allegations
- Celebrity Photo Hacking
- Oscar Pistorius Trail
- Michael Schumacher Accident
- Frank Maloney Sex Change
- Alan Henning Beheading
- Ukraine Military Unrest
For the UK, when it comes to news stories, the infamous bite of Luis Suaraz during the World Cup was searched for more than the Scottish Independence Referendum. I’m not sure what that says about the UK, but there you have it.
UK Searches – What is…?
What I find interesting is that Instagram managed to get the number 10 spot, showing a lot of interest from people in the UK, whilst also informing us that many people don’t know what it is; despite the fact Instagram was recently reported to have more users and engagement than Twitter.
Other Search Highlights
In the U.S. the top “How to” search was “How to Airdrop”, managing to beat “How to Vote” and “How to DIY” to the top spot. If anything, Apple’s wireless content sharing service getting the top spot shows the world is becoming much more tech-savvy.
For Global Consumer Electronics, the iPhone 6 topped it all. But, 2-6 were dominated by Android devices, showing that the mobile operating system war is still at full speed. The Apple Watch gained the 8th spot, showing that wearable tech is surely on the horizon, with a lot of interest from consumers around the world. The iPad Air also managed to slip in at number 10.
Compare 2014 to yesteryear:
Global Brand Searches 2001
Although there is no direct comparison, the brands we searched for in 2001 is quite astonishing. Whilst some of these brands are still going strong, Nokia are pretty much obselete. They’ve come back with a new Android tablet, and sold out to Microsoft, but they are nowhere near gaining the top searched brand any longer. Also, Sony are struggling nowadays in the electronics department, largely reliant on their PlayStation brand. What is amazing, is that there’s no Apple, no Samsung, and a lack of many other major brands which are popular today.
Global Most Searched New Products 2001
- Windows XP
- PlayStation 2
- Nokia 5510
- Internet Explorer 6
- Nokia 3310
- Gameboy Advance
- Nokia 8310
Astonishing how times change, really. The Nokia 5510 instead of the iPhone 6, and Windows XP at the top.
UK Searches 2002
- Big Brother
- Britney Spears
- Gareth Gates
- Kylie Minogue
- World Cup
- Holly Valance
This really interested me, because it shows how the internet and search result usage has changed over time. Whilst here, people are looking for general brands to get to their desired website, nowadays people are searching about events or occurrences. Also, celebrities make a very strong appearance here. And for some reason were very interested in flying.