The differences between the regional and the national lists aren't that stark, but they are telling. Conchita Wurst, for example, earns a spot on the global list, but most in the United States probably don't know that Wurst -- the bearded, female alter-ego of Austrian performer Tom Neuwirth -- was the winner of Europe's massive Eurovision song contest.
Also worth noting: despite all of the media coverage and talk on Capitol Hill about the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., searches for "Ferguson" only made the U.S. list -- not D.C.'s.
Williams surprising death at the age of 63 also sent him to the top of the list for U.S. list of most-searched for celebrities who died this year, joining Joan Rivers, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Maya Angelou and Saturday Night Live alumna Jan Hooks. For overall search trends for people, however, Jennifer Lawrence grabbed the top spot in the U.S. and abroad -- though D.C. residents put her behind both Williams and Rivers.
The D.C. list also showcased some more local news, with both former Ravens player Ray Rice and missing U-Va. student Hannah Graham appearing on local lists for trending people.
On the gadget front, Apple seems to be a winner all around in generating buzz. Its iPhone 6 was at the top of both the global and D.C. lists for trending consumer electronics. In D.C., searchers were nearly as interested in its big cousin, the iPhone 6 Plus. Overall, though, Android phones from Samsung, Motorola, LG and Nokia outnumbered the Apple products on the global list. Microsoft made a decent showing on the D.C. list with the Surface Pro 3 and Outlook 365 -- though the latter could have been related to a massive email outage over the summer.
Google also released a list of the top "what is" searches, which can often provide a glimpse into what was new on the scene in the past year.
Whether you loved or hated the Ice Bucket Challenge, there's no doubt that the awareness effort for ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) was successful, coming in just behind Ebola in a year that also saw a spike in searches for MERS, the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus. World events also appeared to be on Americans's minds with both the Islamic State, or ISIS, and Hamas piquing unusual interest this year.
The "Gamergate"controversy -- either about sexism in the video game industry or journalism ethics, depending on who you talk to -- also made the list. And Williams's death comes up again on this list, via searches for "what is asphyxia" -- his cause of death.
In terms of tech, both Apple and Facebook make the list: Apple by way of research into its file-sharing "AirDrop" feature and Facebook through people searching for WhatsApp, the messaging program it acquired in February. Bitcoin, the digital currency, also turns up on the U.S. list.
As is fitting for D.C., the list of top searches in the area is particularly acronym heavy -- and indicative of a certain workaholic culture. "What is niacin?" could be related to the news that energy drinks such as "5-Hour Energy" can cause a prickly feeling called "niacin flush."
Meanwhile, searches for the dietary supplement "creatine" could indicate that folks in this area were looking for a few shortcuts to gain more energy and better health. And questions about "what is FTE?" (full time equivalent) and "what is OTP?" (overtime pay) both seem employment-related, which is hardly surprising for a city so focused on the office.
(Though OTP can also stand for "one true pairing," a term for the two fictional characters that fans of certain shows or series want to live happily ever after -- think Bella and Edward vs. Bella and Jacob. Really, your guess is as good as ours.)
We here at The Switch are also stumped about the inclusion of two questions on the D.C. list: "what is transportation?" and "what is farsighted?" If you have any ideas about why that may be, feel free to tell us in the comments.