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Paris attacks top Google searches in 2015

2015  in Google Search showed a world hit by violence and natural disaster, plus showbiz and sport
2015 in Google Search showed a world hit by violence and natural disaster, plus showbiz and sport Reuters/Dado Ruvic/Files

The November Paris attacks was the world's biggest event this year, according to searches on Google, with another spike for January's Charlie Hebdo killing spree. The search engine's data for the year, released on Wednesday, show a planet hit by violence and natural disasters, although web users also found time to find out who had won the Oscars and the Tour de France and what colour that dress is.


Over 897 million people worldwide searched for news on the 13 November Paris attacks and the Charlie Hebdo massacre, Google's 2015 in Searches found.

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The events were not just the top news in France but also across the planet, according to data sifted from trillions of queries by Google News Lab, which was launched in July.

Parisians started searching for information on the November attacks one minute after they started, a few minutes later in Berlin with London following soon after, Google News Lab data editor Simon Rogers told the Wired website, adding that the international media did not publish a story for an hour.

Although Google is the worldwide web's dominant search engine, internet users also go to social media for information, meaning that the data do not give a definitive picture.

Hurricane Patricia, which hit Mexico in October, Islamic State, the armed group that has seized territory in Syria and Iraq and was behind the Paris attacks, and Nepal, which was devastated by an earthquake in April, are the next biggest events worldwide, according to the data, which is based on the number of searches and the rise compared to the previous year

Click for RFI reports of the Charlie Hebdo killings


December's top search looks set to be Star Wars at 155 million, thanks to the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, while in February 406 million people searched for the Oscars and 73 million searched for the ambiguously coloured wedding dress of a Scottish bride.

In France the Tour de France cycle race, the Rugby World Cup and the Roland Garros tennis open excited the searchers, who also wanted to know how to make quince jelly, a "magic cake" made with various combinations of eggs, flour, butter and milk, and, more classically, Boeuf Bourguignon.

When it came to asking "how?", they wanted to know how to change profile photos to the colours of the French flag in solidarity with the victims of the Paris attacks.

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