People used Yahoo this year to get the scoop on celebrities and tech products, but it was a deadly disease that elicited the highest volume of searches.
Revealing its Year in Review for 2014, Yahoo cited the Ebola virus as the most-searched item of the year as the disease ravaged several African countries and turned up in isolated cases in the US and Europe. Minecraft, a popular video game whose developer was bought by Microsoft in September, came in at No. 2.
Trendy celebrities dominated the list as usual, with Ariana Grande, Jennifer Lawrence, Kaley Cuoco, Kim Kardashian, Miley Cyrus and Jennifer Aniston all making their way onto Yahoo’s top 10. The Disney film “Frozen” was No. 7 among the top searches.
Apple’s new iPhone 6 squeezed onto the list in the No. 9 spot. The iPhone has been among the most-searched terms on Yahoo in four of the past five years, the company said.
“Each year, we see some recurring archetypes such as the female musical ingenue,” Yahoo Web Trends expert Vera Chan said in an email. “This year, that person was Ariana Grande — a former Nickelodeon star whose Billboard success made her number three on this year’s top searches. There’s also usually a cultural mood (‘Frozen,’ which also made our obsessions list), a social media promotion (Kim Kardashian and her ‘Break the Internet’), political or social disasters or concerns (Number one Ebola), and finally technological advances.”
While Yahoo users were searching for Ebola and Kim Kardashian, Yahoo itself was searching for more traffic and renewed stature. In November, Yahoo became the default search engine for Firefox, displacing Google in the process. Yahoo’s new default status in Firefox, which owns around 13 percent of the desktop browser market according to Net Applications, is a big coup for the search engine.
The more traffic a search engine generates, the more opportunities that advertisers have to display their ads. The more that people respond to such ads, the more the search engine can prove itself a viable and profitable platform for advertisers.
“At Yahoo, we believe deeply in search — it’s an area of investment and opportunity for us,” Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said in a blog post at the time. “This partnership helps to expand our reach in search and gives us an opportunity to work even more closely with Mozilla to find ways to innovate in search, communications and digital content.”
Tech users were also busy tapping into Yahoo this year.
The iPhone 6 captured the top spot among tech searches, followed by the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 4 smartphones. Sports camera GoPro came in fourth, Apple’s iPad Mini came in fifth and Microsoft’s Xbox One came in sixth. Rounding out the list were the Amazon Kindle, Sony’s PlayStation 4, Apple’s iPad Air and Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3.
People also used Yahoo to stay abreast of the latest items in the news by searching for information on the death of actor and comedian Robin Williams, the 2014 elections, the leaked photos of popular celebrities, the loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Mo.