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OPLIN 4cast #461: Searching outside the box

Posted in 4cast

mobile searchesAt the Code/Mobile conference this month, Amit Singhal, Google’s search chief, announced that for the first time more Google searches were done this summer on mobile devices than desktop computers. A deeper dive into these numbers, however, reveals some interesting things about the differences in the ways people use different devices (computer/tablet/mobile) for searching, and about how frequently they search for information. Some of the recent search usage data should be raising a few business concerns at Google. The fourth article linked below has a particularly detailed statistical analysis of search data that might especially interest librarians who are curious about people’s information searching habits.

  • Mobile search tops at Google (WSJ Digits blog | Douglas MacMillan)  “A growing number of those searches are not done by typing a query into Google’s traditional search engine box. In cars, for example, where users can’t type, Google is working on improving voice recognition. ‘Over half the things that people ask the car to do are related to information and entertainment,’ Mr. Singhal said.”
  • Mobile searches surpass desktop searches at Google for the first time (TechCrunch | Cat Zakrzewski)  “Though the shift to mobile suggests Google is adapting to the new digital landscape, it poses more of a challenge for the company as mobile search is increasingly vertical. Shoppers increasingly are bypassing Google and searching for products directly on Amazon. Singhal said when designing search for mobile, the company thinks about how you want different search options depending on your setting and your device.”
  • Google’s most important business has a huge problem (Business Insider | Nicholas Carlson)  “Most of Google’s advertisers are companies trying to sell products to users who are looking for those products via Google. When a user clicks on one of their ads, that user goes straight to the advertiser’s online store. Because Google told its advertisers not to worry about creating campaigns specifically for mobile or for desktop, [Danny] Sullivan and [Ginny] Marvin say that most of them continued using the same online stores that they had when their ads appeared only on Google’s desktop search-results pages. These stores were not very easy to use on mobile.”
  • Google’s growing problem: 50% of people do zero searches per day on mobile (The Overspill | Charles Arthur)  “Thus where someone using a desktop/laptop might fulfil their ‘average’ one or two searches per day by typing ‘Facebook’ when they open their browser, on mobile that doesn’t happen because it doesn’t need to happen; they just open the app. […] People don’t, on average, search very much on mobile. The miracle of Google, in retrospect, is building a multi-billion dollar business by accreting millions of rare actions – people doing searches and then clicking on ads.”

Articles from Ohio Web Library: