Search Engines Essential to Internet, Study Finds
Survey data indicate that search engines have become an essential and popular way for people to find information online. A nationwide phone survey of 1,399 Internet users conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project in late spring shows that 84 percent of online Americans have used search engines — which translates into more than 107 million people.
On any given day, more than half of those using the Internet use search engines. And more than two-thirds of Internet users say they use search engines at least a couple of times per week.
Other study findings reveal that the use of search engines usually ranks only second to e-mail use as the most popular activity online. During periods when major news stories are breaking, the act of getting news online usually surpasses the use of search engines.
Two additional findings from the Pew study are:
• There is a substantial payoff as search engines improve and people become more adept at using them. Some 87 percent of search engine users say they find the information they want most of the time when they use search engines.
• The convenience and effectiveness of the search experience solidifies its appeal. Some 44 percent say that most times they are looking for vital information they absolutely need.
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