Every year, Google releases a variety of lists that reveal the world's favorite search terms. The American tech corporation also distinguishes between countries and categories, which allows an examination of global differences in search behavior.
Of course, Google's search trends do not reflect world events in their entirety, partially because the search engine is not dominant in all countries and many Middle Eastern nations are missing from Google's summary. In some cases, however, the search trends reflect worrisome international conflicts or problems.
You can take a closer look at the data here, but we have compiled a list of some of the most politically revealing search trends in 2014.
Ukrainians were more interested in manuals that explain how to make molotov cocktails than in any other recipe. Google considers such manuals to be recipes -- a category that is usually occupied by cook-book entries in other countries.
In 2013, nobody would have predicted that 2014 could become such a decisive year in the history of Ukraine. Last January, Ukrainians angered by the government of then President Viktor Yanukovych, a Moscow ally, protested in Kiev and western Ukraine. Violence soon overshadowed the uprising and Feb. 20, at least 88 people were killed within only 48 hours.
Two days later, Yanukovych fled to Russia -- but chaos persisted in Ukraine.
The particular interest in molotov cocktails can be traced back to the street fights in Kiev and other cities that were particularly frequent in the first half of the year.
In 2013, the most asked question in Ukraine that involved the word 'How' was "How to make a screenshot?" This year, however, Ukrainians were primarily interested in: "How do I save electricity?"
As the Economist pointed out in November, Ukraine is the world's least equal country in terms of wealth. The Post's editorial board concluded on Dec. 22 that Ukraine's currency and GDP forecasts were in even worse shape than Russia's. Given that Ukraine braces for a cold winter, experts fear the collapse of the country's already fragile economy.
The European Union recently estimated that at least $15 billion in additional foreign assistance was needed to prevent the implosion of Ukraine's economy.
Many Ukrainians are already feeling the impact: Earlier this month, the U.N. children's agency warned that more than 1.7 million children were suffering due to the conflict in Ukraine and that the situation was exacerbated by cold temperatures and a lack of supplies.
In Sweden, the fourth most googled question starting with "Why?" has been: "Why was the E.U. established?"
Sweden is often considered a role model democracy and welfare state. This year, though, was a tough one for admirers of the Scandinavian nation of roughly 9.5 million inhabitants.
2014 exposed an anti-immigration attitude among many Swedish that has worried many abroad. An anti-immigration party that is often accused of promoting xenophobia came in third in this year's elections in September.
When Europe elected the E.U. parliament in May, anti-immigration as well as anti-European Union attitudes gained momentum and were often promoted by the same right-wing parties. That could explain the Swedish interest in getting to know why the E.U. was established in the first place.
Many French searched for information on how to abstain from elections. "How to vote blank/ white" was most searched in the category of sentences starting with "How to …”
France's political elite had at least three reasons to be worried this year: the European Parliament elections, as well as the country's Senate and municipal elections. All three turned out to be disastrous for the ruling Socialist party.
While France's current President Francois Hollande became the most unpopular one in the country's recent history, right-wing party Front National celebrated major gains.
Its success was fueled by the country's weak economic performance, high unemployment rates, and a rise in xenophobic, as well as anti-Semitic, attitudes.
With an abstention rate of 56.5 percent from this year's E.U. elections, France was far above average (43.1 percent). Many polling experts believe that the high rate of abstention is a sign of frustration among the French with their political elites.
In Israel, the most searched news event term was the Home Front Command.
Israel's Home Front Command, established in 1992, is a military entity that is deployed within the country. For instance, its Web site provides instructions and local alerts in the case of an emergency or attack.
Hence, the Command was among the most regionally searched terms in 2014 – a year in which thousands (and far more Palestinians than Israelis) died in a conflict that was dubbed Operation Protective Edge by Israel.