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Here’s an interesting bit of research that ripped my head off. The Pew Internet & American Life Project just did a survey on how people search the Net. Among their findings:

Nearly half of searchers use a search engines no more than a few times a week, and two-thirds say they could walk away from search engines without upsetting their lives very much.

They could “walk away from search engines without upsetting their lives very much”?? This fascinates me, because my own experience is so radically, fundamentally, insanely different. During the workday, I use search engines several times an hour — and for several extended periods during the day I’ll be doing queries several times a minute. If I were to average it out, I’d say I probably do a search every 15 minutes while I’m at work at my desk. Obviously, I skew pretty far off to the side of the bell-shaped curve here because I’m a) a journalist, b) a technology journalist, c) a blogger, and d) someone who regards the Internet, functionally, as a part of my consciousness. Search engines aren’t merely the way I find information: They’re part of my basic thought processes.


(Thanks to Boing Boing for this one!)

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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