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The death of a beloved actor, a global sporting event and a mysterious plane disappearance. On the face of it, those things don’t have all that much in common but the FIFA World Cup, the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH 370 and the death of Robin Williams all shook the world in 2014. It’s hardly surprising then that they all also feature in Google’s most searched terms for the year.
Williams’ suicide topped search results for the year, no doubt because it came as so much of a surprise to so many. Few knew of the private struggles that the comedian and actor had gone through. As details emerged though, Google notes that there was a related uptick in searches related to depression tests and mental health in the days following his death.
On the sporting front, the FIFA World Cup and Winter Olympics dominated search. It wasn’t all about athletic achievement though. According to Google, Luis Suarez’ infamous bite was one of the most searched for events around the tournament.
The disappearance of Malaysian Airline flight MH 370 meanwhile played into the fears of nervous fliers around the world. As the investigation continued on the ground and online, Google says, people stayed hopeful for a happy ending despite the dim odds: searches for “mh370 found” outnumbered searches for “mh370 lost.”
It also seems likely that fear played a role in propelling Ebola and ISIS into their respective positions on the chart.
Other top searches — such as those for Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst, ALS and Disney’s smash-hit movie Frozen — suggest that we’re as comfortable looking for a little inspiration on Google as we are for information on any perceived threats to our way of life.