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What’s the Top 'Trending' Search This Year?

An employee plays the game Flappy Bird at a smartphone store in Hanoi, Feb. 10, 2014. (AFP PHOTO/HOANG DINH Nam)

An employee plays the game Flappy Bird at a smartphone store in Hanoi, Feb. 10, 2014. (AFP PHOTO/HOANG DINH Nam)

The American-based company Google has just released its list of the top trending online searches of 2014. Google keeps records of everything Internet users enter on its search engine. The new list gives the names or expressions that appeared in ever-increasing numbers over a set, limited period. Trending is not to be mixed up with the most popular searches on the website.

At the top of Google’s top-trending searches list is Robin Williams, the American comedian and actor who died four months ago. The list also includes the World Cup, Ebola, Malaysia Airlines, ISIS and Flappy Bird.

Chances are that more people have heard of the game Angry Birds than Flappy Bird. But there it is.

Flappy Bird was the fifth most trending search term in the United States and the sixth most trending term around the world.

In the U.S., Flappy Bird even beat out major news stories like Ferguson, Ukraine and ISIS, the militant group also known as ISIL or the Islamic State.

Flappy Bird started as a mobile app game in the Apple Store and on Google Play. The man who developed the program is Dong Nguyen of Vietnam, also known as @dongatory. He said it only took him a few days to create the game.

Earlier this year, people downloaded the Flappy Bird app 50 million times. The online magazine Verge said it was the most popular game on mobile devices and earned about $50,000 a day from advertising.

The game was simple enough. A player is required to touch the computer screen to keep the bird alive and to fly through small spaces between pipes. In the words of @Beansprites, another game developer, Flappy Bird “reminds me of simple old school games from the 80’s! Simple & Addictive!”

By early February, the game earned more than 47,000 reviews on the App Store. Some players even produced a video called “How to Beat Flappy Bird.”

As popular as the game was, on February 8, Dong Nguyen tweeted “I can call ‘Flappy Bird’ is a success of mine. But it also ruins my simple life. So now I hate it.”

He followed with another tweet: “I am sorry ‘Flappy Bird’ users, 22 hours from now, I will take ‘Flappy Bird’ down. I cannot take this anymore.” The message was resent nearly 140,000 times and he removed the game as he had promised.

The reaction was quick. Some of the unhappy “Flappy Bird” fans went on social media to send death threats and even suicide notes to Mr. Nguyen.

Luckily, no one was killed and he is still busy creating new games.

I’m Jim Tedder.

Hai Do wrote this report for VOA Learning English. The editor was George Grow.


Google's Global Trending Search for 2014

1. Robin Williams

2. World Cup

3. Ebola

4. Malaysia Airlines

5. ALS Ice Bucket Challange

6. Flappy Bird

7. Conchita Wurst


9. Frozen

10. Sochi Olympics

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