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No. 2: Minecraft

Jumping from the No. 4 spot in 2013 to second place, Minecraft dominated online searches for its mods, skins, packs, and other elements to recreate worlds, block by block. A valentine came for creator Markus Persson on Feb. 25, when he tweeted, "We've reached 100 million registered users on the original Minecraft." Players got even more block-shattering news in September, when Microsoft announced its acquisition of the massively successful franchise. Even as Minecraft has been celebrated as art, courtesy of an exhibit at London’s Tate Museum, its success has concerned some ardent fans who fear that its soul has been co-opted by salesmanship.

Top 10 Searches of 2014

Vera H-C Chan
Senior Editor, Special Projects
Yahoo Tech

Since 2001, Yahoo’s annual top searches have reflected each year’s guilty pleasures (from RuneScape to Minecraft), the au courant celebutante (from Paris Hilton to Kim Kardashian), the reigning pop stars (from Britney Spears to Ariana Grande) and the major stories (from the World Trade Center attacks to Ebola). So what do a billion searches tell us about society? Besides the power of recurring archetypes (such as the female musical ingenue) and social media promotion (#BreakTheInternet), the list captures the cultural mood, political concerns, and technological advances of our time. Dig deep enough, and you’ll see a fast-moving narrative of shifting norms. Check out the repeat visitors, new faces, and big issues on our 2014 list. And don’t forget to check out our list of top 10 news stories and the year’s obsessions.