Geo-political issues have a way of shaping our American mentality toward other nations and reviving historical grievances. Quite obviously, media coverage tends to fuel this fire. If you couple that with what we see in the movies and TV shows with foreign characters, we suddenly think we know another nation and we might not like them. This happens all the time and for the past year it’s been happening with our mentality toward Russians.
If we completely eradicate the political and economic implications of anything that has transpired…well ever…between the US and Russia, you’re right, there are still language differences, cultural traits, and learned behaviors that have formed Russians and Americans into two diverse nations. Nonetheless, there’s some interesting measurable data that will tell a different story of these two nations in 2014.
As we reflect on 2014 through Google’s list of the year’s hot topics, our counterparts in Russia are doing the same thing but with a list produced by Yandex, sometimes referred to as the Russian version of Google. The Russian search engine, established a year before Google, was built on the Russian language which makes its search results far more accurate and reliable for users. With 62% of the market share in Russia, Yandex sees over 5 billion search queries per month, making their comprehensive search list a pretty precise take on Russians’ interests for 2014.
Technology and search bring Russians and Americans closer together than you may think. Here are ten ways that our search patterns reflect unity between Americans and Russians in a year they were otherwise defined as two very divided nations:
We’re scared of Ebola:
Ebola was one of the biggest searches in the US and Russia. Everyone was trying to figure out what Ebola was, when it would reach them, and what the symptoms were. There must have been a few of those WebMD panic types who convinced themselves they had Ebola in both Russia and the US as well.
We love sports, our countries, and we want to win:
Obviously the Sochi Olympics and World Cup were huge searches in 2014 for both Yandex and Google users. As the host of the Olympics, Sochi 2014 was the top sports search this year on Yandex. The US Russia Hockey game was Russia’s seventh most searched sports query in 2014, among a number of other Olympic Games and World Cup matches featuring the Russian national teams.
Similarly, Americans searched for major US games including US v Germany and US v Portugal. Both Americans and Russians took an interest in the German and Brazilian national soccer teams but interestingly were more curious about different matches. While Russians searched for the Brazil Germany game itself, Americans wanted to know about the Germany Argentina match and Brazil Chile match.
We get excited about pictures of nude actresses:
Jennifer Lawrence and the 2014 celebrity photo leak drew as much attention in Russia as it did in the US. Aside from Russian Olympic athletes and actresses, Jennifer Lawrence was one of the most widely searched women of 2014 in Russia, ranking as the eighth most searched female celebrity on Yandex. The US actress was the number one searched actress on Google this year. The photo leak landed in the tenth slot for the most searched events on Yandex.
We were sad to lose Robin Williams:
Robin Williams was the number one Google search for 2014, as we all mourned the loss of a great actor who touched our lives through his various roles and personable interviews. Russians, who watch as many popular American movies as we do, were also searching the web to get information on Williams this summer. The beloved American actor landed third on Russia’s list of most searched men of 2014.
We flip out over the iPhone 6
The iPhone 6 created as much stir in Russia as it did in the US, its release date and accessibility just lagged on the other side of the world. People were searching for information on the iPhone 6 as much on Yandex, as they were on Google. The smartphone landed number one in Google’s tech item category and in Yandex’s item launch category, which mainly included technology.
We get addicted to mobile games
Flappy Bird, a popular 2013 mobile game, hooked in both the American and Russian population this past year. The addictive Android based game was listed as America’s fifth most Googled search queries of 2014. Flappy Birds ranked as one of Russia’s top most searched games of 2014.
We love Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill:
All ten of Russia’s top movies of 2014 were American films but only two of them overlapped with Americans’ most searched movies, 22 Jump Street and Maleficient. 22 Jump Street ranked seventh on the Yandex list and seventh on the Google list. Malefecient, however, ranked fourth in Russia and tenth in the US.
We’re all watching Game of Thrones:
Did you picture Russians watching your favorite HBO show and freaking out at all the dramatic scenes as much as you? In the Yandex category for Foreign Shows, Game of Thrones came in as the most searched show for 2014. Americans similarly searched for Game of Thrones more than any other show on Google this year. Russians and Americans also had similar search patterns for American Horror story.
We’re all swinging from a chandelier and living like tomorrow doesn’t exist
You will probably hear as much of Sia’s Chandelier whether you are in NYC or Moscow. The song landed Sia as the eighth most Googled musician of 2014 and the fifth most Yandexed song of 2014.
We want to know what’s happening in Ukraine
While most Americans were trying to figure out where the hell Ukraine is, why some people naively call it “The Ukraine,” and what was going on, the issue was a little closer to home for Russians who were searching for specific cities and regions to figure out what transpired and stay informed on the news.
In addition to many of the common search trends happening in the US and Russia, the Yandex and Google list each included very specific domestic events or figures that made the news like Ferguson and Moscow’s metro train derailment.
Beyond the Russian images you may have created of men in fur coats taking shots of vodka, there are people commuting to work searching on their iPhones for hockey game scores while listening to Jason Derulo and Snoop Dogg. There are women getting together with their girlfriends to watch Game of Thrones and there are a ton of teenagers searching for Jennifer Lawrence photos. We may be on different sides of world with different political leaders, upbringings, and language but at least our 2014 search trends show that we have a lot more in common with Russians than you may have ever known.