August 2, 2014

New Report/Statistics from Pew Internet: Search Engine Use 2012

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Search Engine Use 2012
Pew Internet & American Life Project
March 2012

Direct to Report ||| PDF Version

Summary of Findings

Search engines remain popular—and users are more satisfied than ever with the quality of search results—but many are anxious about the collection of personal information by search engines and other websites.

Most search users disapprove of personal information being collected for search results or for targeted advertising

The Pew Internet & American Life survey in February 2012 included several questions probing how respondents feel about search engines and other websites collecting information about them and using it to either shape their search results or target advertising to them. Clear majorities of internet and search users disapprove of these practices in all the contexts we probed.

Specifically, the survey posed the following choices to search engine users:

65% say…
It’s a BAD thing if a search engine collected information about your searches and then used it to rank your future search results, because it may limit the information you get online and what search results you see

29% say…
It’s a GOOD thing if a search engine collected information about your searches and then used it to rank your future search results, because it gives you results that are more relevant to you

73% say they would…
NOT BE OKAY with a search engine keeping track of your searches and using that information to personalize your future search results because you feel it is an invasion of privacy

23% say they would…
Be OKAY with a search engine keeping track of your searches and using that information to personalize your future search results, even if it means they are gathering information about you

All internet users were posed the following choice regarding targeted advertising:68% say…
I’m NOT OKAY with targeted advertising because I don’t like having my online behavior tracked and analyzed

28% say…
I’m OKAY with targeted advertising because it means I see advertisements and get information about things I’m really interested in

NOT BE OKAY with a search engine keeping track of your searches and using that information to personalize your future search results because you feel it is an invasion of privacy

You’ll Also Learn

  • Overall views of search engine performance are very positive
  • Most internet users say they do not know how to limit the information that is collected about them by a website
  • Overall, search users are confident in their abilities
  • Positive search experiences are more common than negative experiences
  • Google continues to be the most popular search engine, by a wide margin

Direct to Report ||| PDF Version

See Also: Analysis and Commentary by Danny Sullivan (via Search Engine Land)

share save 171 16 New Report/Statistics from Pew Internet: Search Engine Use 2012
Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.