The Pew Internet & American Life Project released a new study on Internet usage last month. It’s a daunting read – 42 printed pages! (for those who like paper) – but very insightful and worth the read to better understand today’s search engine user. One of the main takeaways from the in-depth study is that search engines are more popular than ever. We’re not surprised, but the stats back up the assumptions. Pew says “in January 2002, 52 percent of all Americans used search engines. In February 2012 that figure grew to 73% of all Americans.” The report goes on to explain that on any given day so far in 2012, nearly 60 percent of adults using the Internet use a search engine. And by “a search engine,” they basically mean Google, as 83% of people use it over other engines these days (compared to 47% in 2004).
While Google is the current reigning king of search engines, the report does highlight that many Internet searchers are “anxious about the collection of personal information by search engines and other websites and they do not like the idea of personalized search results… .” It’ll be interesting to see how Google’s introduction of “Search+ Your World” affects these already-weary users. In fact, 73% of survey respondents said they thought personalized search results were a bad thing, “because it may limit the information you get online and what search results you see.” Despite the reluctance to get on board with personalized search, the report clearly illustrates that the reliance on search engines isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, there’s also a lot of data around the increase of mobile search. And that was a new thing not that long ago, as well. To geek out with us, read the whopper Search Engine Use in 2012 report and let us know of any surprises!