googleEach year, Google releases a list of the topics we’ve collectively searched for the most over the past 12 months. Each year, I try and see how many I can guess beforehand.

This year, I got about half. How many can you get? [Pro tip: remember, people generally search for depressing/scary stuff more than pretty much anything else.]

Google released two lists this year — one for US search trends, and one for worldwide search trends. The lists are mostly the same, with just a few differences.

US Trending Searches:

  1. Robin Williams
  2. World Cup
  3. Ebola
  4. Malaysia Airlines
  5. Flappy Bird
  6. ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
  7. ISIS
  8. Ferguson
  9. Frozen
  10. Ukraine

Global Trending Searches:

  1. Robin Williams
  2. World Cup
  3. Ebola
  4. Malaysia Airlines
  5. ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
  6. Flappy Bird
  7. Conchita Wurst
  8. ISIS
  9. Frozen
  10. Sochi Olympics

The two lists are strikingly similar, save for the global list leaning toward Conchita Wurst and the Sochi Olympics in place of Ferguson and Ukraine.

Interesting to note: this is the first year in a few where an Apple product didn’t make the cut. (2010 had iPad; 2011 featured both iPhone 5 and iPad 3; 2012 had iPad 3 again; 2013 had the iPhone 5S in spot #2)

Also of note: as far as I can recall, Flappy Bird is the first mobile app to crack Google’s top 10. Having a wildly successful app is one thing — but an app that becomes one of the most searched for things around the entire world? Achievement unlocked. (Google notes that 2048 and Flappy Bird, both one-man projects, beat out Destiny, the most expensive game ever developed.)

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Quantum-Dot-TVA new kind of display is about to make TV images appear even more lifelike. LG will show off a TV based on quantum-dot technology at CES 2015 in January, and the company also plans to start selling it later that year.

Quantum-dot tech uses extremely tiny crystals — measuring 2 to 10 nanometers — to generate light. (That’s so small that the tiniest crystals are only about 20 atoms thick.) Different-size crystals generate different colors, and the size of the crystals can be controlled precisely. As a result, quantum-dot displays can reproduce color that’s even better and more accurate than OLED screens, the current leading tech for advanced TVs.

There are already a few products with quantum-dot displays, most notably Amazon’s Kindle Fire HDX, and China’s TCL announced in the fall it would build the world’s first TV based on the tech.

With LG, which sells roughly 17% of the world’s TVs, on board, quantum-dot sets will have a shot at going mainstream. The company didn’t say how big the TV would be, only that it would have 4K (a.k.a. Ultra HD) resolution, it would be on display at CES, and that the product would join its official lineup in 2015 (i.e., it won’t just be a technology demo).

In LG’s set, the quantum dots are in a “film” that’s mounted on the TV’s LED backlight but, otherwise, the technology is just like an LCD model.

With the quantum dots, however, the color gamut is increased by more than 30%, LG says.

One big downside of quantum-dot TVs has been their reliance on cadmium, which is considered a toxic substance. But LG says it has solved this problem, claiming its new quantum-dot set is cadmium-free.

LG didn’t give a price for the TV, and it probably won’t until it’s ready to ship, but there’s reason to be optimistic: TCL’s set sold for one-third the price of an comparable OLED TV. The most advanced technology doesn’t always need to be the most expensive.

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