Science + TechThe Future Now

Back to the Future...stays in the future

Searches for 'hoverboard hoax' soared past those for 'hoverboard real' as hopes were dashed following a product launch in February.

Wishes do come true

The crowdfunding phenomenon

Despite the hoverboard hoax, a real project was launched in October to make the dream a reality. It was a big year for 'crowdfunding,' with 21x more interest than in 2013, and retro classics continued to make a comeback. Oculus Rift was sold for $2B, while Coolest Cooler and Star Citizen broke all-time funding records.

The projects with buzz

Three bright ideas rose to the top in search and had us delving into our pockets.

Explore Trends
'oculus rift'
'star citizen'

Kickstarter is the most searched crowdfunding platform, followed by Indiegogo and Crowdfunder. It is a community that funds creative projects and had double the searches in 2014 compared to 2013.

Oculus Rift is a virtual reality headset, giving players total immersion in virtual worlds. Interest in 'oculus' surged by 3x after the company was bought in February.

Virtual reality

Several virtual reality projects launched this year, and searches for the phrase soared. Interest in Jaron Lanier, the digital critic credited with coining it, jumped as well.

Where we're going, we don't need roads

In October we went crazy for 'hoverboard', as Hendo Hoverboards launched its real-life version, powered by magnets. Marty McFly would be impressed.

Most searched for ideas that haven’t happened. Yet:

  1. Time machine
  2. Jetpack
  3. Replicator
  4. Flying car
  5. Teleporter
See the 2014 lists

'potato salad kickstarter'

Zack Brown's request for $10 to help make a potato salad became the year’s largest search trend around crowdfunding. What's more, it was the only trending search to feature the phrase 'potato salad.'

"While our little internet joke will one day be forgotten, the impact will be felt forever."

After unintentionally setting off a storm, Brown used the $55,000 raised to help reduce homelessness in his local area. He also founded PotatoStock, a free concert held in Columbus, Ohio.