This Was Google’s Top Search for 2014

This Was Google's Top Search for 2014


Robin Williams’s death had people worldwide scouring the Internet for insights into the famed comic’s life, making him the hottest search trend of the year on Google, the web giant said today.

“The passing of beloved comedian and actor Robin Williams shook the world, bringing many people online to search for more information and to remember, and putting Williams in the #1 spot on our global trends charts,” said Google’s vice president of search, Amit Singhal, in a blog post.

“There was even an uptick in searches related to depression tests and mental health in the days following his death.”

Williams, known for high-energy, rapid-fire improvisation and clowning, was found dead on August 11 at his home in Marin County, north of San Francisco.

He hanged himself, according to coroners.

There were signs that the 63-year-old comic actor — who had recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease — had tried to cut his left wrist, according to an autopsy report.

Williams, an Oscar-winner and veteran of movies, stand-up shows and hit television series, was one of Hollywood’s most popular entertainers and his death triggered an outpouring of emotion the world over.

World Cup, Ebola top searches

World Cup fever was the second hottest search trend at Google.

“The World Cup in Brazil had its fair share of unforgettable moments and had everyone glued to their TVs and mobile devices all summer,” Google said.

“From Luis Suarez’s bite heard around the world, to Tim Howard’s superman performance vs. Belgium, to Germany’s incredible run to their fourth title, the competition certainly lived up to its reputation and topped the charts.”

The deadly Ebola virus and tragedy-struck Malaysia Airlines were the third and fourth fierce search topics, respectively, followed by the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge” fad of dousing oneself in icy water to raise money to battle Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

The remainder of the Top 10 search trends for this year were mobile game Flappy Bird, drag queen performer Conchita Wurst, the Islamic State group, hit animated film “Frozen” and the Sochi Olympics.

“It was a year in which we were struck by the death of a beloved comedian, and watched news unfold about a horrific plane crash and a terrifying disease,” Singhal said.

“We were captivated by sporting events, and had our fun with birds, a bucket of ice and a frozen princess.”

Apple’s new iPhone 6 was the top consumer electronics gadget search trend, while “Hunger Games” film star Jennifer Lawrence was the top query trend focused on a person, according to Google.

Nude photos of the Oscar-winning actress and a trove of other stars were hacked and posted online in September, and several threatened to sue Google for failing to take down the leaks.


Uber Racked Up Big International Losses During 2014 Expansion

Uber Racked Up Big International Losses During 2014 Expansion

The international business of Uber, the US-based ride-hailing service, lost $237 million in 2014, a big increase on a deficit of $31.9 million the previous year, as the company expanded around the globe.

The figures, the latest available, were disclosed in an official filing lodged with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce last month. Uber’s international headquarters are in Amsterdam.

Although the filing excludes the company’s US operations, it offers a rare snapshot of Uber’s overseas performance as it rolled out its service to big cities around the world often meeting resistance from established taxi services.

Company spokesman Gareth Mead said the filing had been deposited with Dutch authorities for the first time this year, and the figures reflect a “rapidly growing company investing in more people and in more cities.”

Uber’s service was available in fewer than 100 cities at the start of 2014, compared with more than 400 now, Mead added.

The privately-held company does not publish group profit and loss figures, although documents leaked last year showed it made a company-wide loss of $109 million (roughly Rs. 733 crores) in the second quarter of 2014.

The international operations encompass more than two dozen operating companies around the globe, notably in China. Losses will probably be higher in 2015, as CEO Travis Kalanick said last month the company was losing “a billion dollars a year” in China amid a price war.

The filing, deposited at the Chamber of Commerce on Feb. 3 and first reported on Wednesday by Dutch broadcaster RTL, shows Uber International CV had net turnover of $68.3 million (roughly Rs. 459 crores) in 2014. The filing did not provide a comparable sales figure for 2013.

Major factors contributing to the large loss included a $126 million (roughly Rs. 847 crores) cost of sales, $36 million (roughly Rs. 242 crores) in wages and salaries, and $129 million (roughly Rs. 868 crores) in “other operating expenses.”

The documents showed the company had 355 international employees in 2014, around 40 of them in the Netherlands.

San Francisco, California-based Uber Technologies, Inc. is frequently said to be worth $40 billion (roughly Rs. 2,69,170 crores), based on the pricing of the sale of some of its shares to private investors in 2014.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

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Tags: Apps, Uber, Uber App, Uber Taxi App