Do you know why you use the search engine you do?

Do you use Google for your web searches? Yahoo! search? Windows Live search? Why do you prefer the one you use?

The Google Operating System Blog recently polled its readers about which search they prefer. The twist was that they had users perform searches using each service in a modified form, so that is was impossible to tell (based on appearance) which search was which. Preferences were (theoretically) based purely on search results. You can read the original post, and the poll results. Google won with 1041 votes, followed by Windows Live with 711 and Yahoo! with 604. (Users were allowed to vote for more than one if they felt that the search results were equally good.)

This poll isn’t scientific, and there are numerous flaws with the methodology, but it raises some interesting questions. Google searches account for about 53% of all searches performed (see Search Engine Watch). This falls in line roughly with the results of this poll, but not with the public perception that we “google” everything. The poll results are also surprising given the Google-centricity of the blog: Google won, but not by a lot.

So, why do you use the search engine you do? Convenience? Ease of use? Quality? Force of habit? Format?

Why not take a few minutes to try out some other search engines and think about what you like? Try a visual search like KartOO or check up the updated features on Ask.com. If you decide to stick with your old search engine, what makes it a better engine for you?

About Bonnie J. M. Swoger
Science Librarian at SUNY Geneseo, a small, public liberal arts college. I am interested in scientific communication in general and how we teach students about how scientists share information.

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