Searching, searching and searching. It has become the second most popular online activity, right behind e-mailing, a new study in the United States pointed out. A dramatic increase of 69% in daily use of search engines since 2002 against a small rise (15%) of the all time internet killer ‘e-mail’, indicates that search engines are becoming fully established and for many an answer to a broad range of questions.
Typically, the daily use of search engines is highly correlated to a broadband internet connection at home. About 55% of the American homes have Internet and in general these are highly educated people who tend to have relatively high incomes. Also, the younger the searcher, the higher the propensity to search on a daily basis. Differences between genders are minimal but men tend to search slightly more than women.
Except for e-mailing and searching the most popular Internet activities on a typical day include checking the weather and reading the news, accountable for respectively 30% and 39% of the online population for whom this a habit. The Internet is also used on a daily basis for recreational purposes such as research for hobbies (29%), fun (28%) and social networking (13%).
The rise of search is partly a result of the growing number of home broadband connections, but there is more. The constant improvement of search over the years has created the habit among many Internet users to turn to search engines for virtually every question that pops up. A quick search in Google will in many cases immediately solve a problem, not to mention the number of searchers that use Google instead of typing the correct url in the browser window.
It must not be forgotten that the statistics presented in the report compare between now and 6 years ago. I personally can’t even remember how I used the Internet 6 years ago, though I did, but you see that for the Internet 6 years is a long time. What was Google 6 years ago compared to now? How many other search engines exist these days compared to 2002?
Moreover, if I go 6 years back the only thing I’m 100% sure of is that I was using Hotmail. E-mail indeed. Should it be a surprise then that the daily use of e-mail has hardly increased over so many years? The surfers who e-mailed six years ago, probably still do it today, but the number of people that discovered the practicality of Google over the years is far greater.