August 18, 2008, 12:00 AM

Nearly half of web users use online search on a typical day, study says

On a typical day, 49% of U.S. Internet users employ search technology to either find web sites or search within a particular site, up from about one-third in 2002, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

On a typical day, 49% of U.S. Internet users use search technology to either find web sites or search within a particular site, up from about 30% in 2004 and 40% in 2005, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, a unit of Pew Research Center.

Past increases in online search activity, such as in 2004, probably stemmed from media buzz about search engines and the early rise of Google, Pew says. More recently, the growth may be a result of more web sites offering a search function as well as the increase in the number of homes with broadband Internet access, it adds. “Users can now expect to find a high-performing, site-specific search engine on just about every content-rich web site,” Pew says, adding, “Of all the demographic variables we analyzed, the presence of a home broadband connection had the strongest relationship with a user’s propensity to use a search engine on a typical day.”

Pew adds that the use of Internet search rises along with education and income. Among consumers with incomes of $50,000 or more, at least 56% search on a typical day, compared to less than 40% for those with incomes under $50,000. While 66% of college graduates are likely to search on a typical day, the figure is 32% for consumers with no more than a high school diploma.

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