Search could overtake email as king of the apps

A spike in search engine use could soon see it move past email as the most commonly used internet application, new research suggests.

A spike in search engine use could soon see it move past email as the most commonly used internet application, new research suggests.

Just under 50% of web users now use a search engine each day, according to a survey of 1500 US internet users by the Pew Research Centre, a 69% increase on 2002 levels.

That puts search engines just 11% behind email in the daily use stakes. The number of people who use mail each day has increased from 51% in 2002 to 60% in 2008.

If that rate of growth continues it is just a matter of time until search leaves email in the dust as the web’s most used application.

Other common activities performed on the web each day include checking news (39%), checking weather (30%) and researching hobbies (29%).

Pew speculates that the rise of site specific search engines could be a reason for the increase.

“Users can now expect to find a high-performing, site-specific search engine on just about every content-rich website that is worth its salt. With a growing mass of web content from blogs, news sites, image and video archives, personal websites, and more, internet users have an option to turn not only to the major search engines, but also to search engines on individual sites, as vehicles to reach the information they are looking for,” the report says.

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