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Search engines are among the most popular applications used by people searching for information online, but according to a new study, they are also the most expensive.
The study by IT consultancy Gartner and the Australian Institute of Chartered Accountants (AICA) found that Australian search engines are the most used by users on the internet, accounting for 25 per cent of the total search queries in the study.
The study also found that most users are using Google, Bing and Yahoo to search.
Gartner said its new study found that search engines account for 40 per cent to 50 per cent more online queries than desktop search engines.
“Search engines are increasingly a vital component of the internet ecosystem and are often seen as the backbone of the online experience,” said Gartners research manager, Dr Andrew Moulds.
“While desktop search services have seen their share of disruption, search engines continue to have a strong hold on the majority of people accessing online content.”
Our research shows that this holds true for the majority user base across the entire internet.
“Search engines account in part for a wide range of data, including the content they fetch, how much they charge and how they’re used.
The research found that users were most likely to be searching for a particular search term, with 30 per cent saying they would use a search engine to find their preferred search terms.”
Users were most often using search engines to search for specific types of content,” said Dr Mould.”
A key reason for this is that the most relevant search engines can offer more detailed and relevant results.
“We also found a significant number of users are looking for specific content, like a book or video, for example, but are unable to find the content on their preferred sites.”
While Google and Bing are the dominant search engines for the Australian population, the AICA found that Yahoo, Facebook and other third-party search engines accounted for less than 2 per cent each of the search queries.
In addition, users were less likely to use a third-parties search engine than a native Australian search engine such as Bing or Google.
The most popular search engine on the Australian internet is Yahoo, which accounted for 15 per cent and was the most widely used search engine by more than 30 per and a quarter of Australians, according to Garters research.
The AICAs research also found users were looking for different search terms than what was currently in the search results.
While people were more likely to search in English, the study found the majority used Google and Yahoo as their main search engines on average.
“Google is the preferred search engine for most Australians, as it provides the most accurate and comprehensive search results for its users,” said Mr Mould, who also works for IT consultancy Accenture.
“Yahoo, Facebook, and other search engines appear to be the most competitive in terms of search results, with Yahoo being the most dominant search engine in terms in the US and Australia.”
According to Mr Mold, it’s unlikely Google or Yahoo will be the primary search engine used for many Australians in the future.
“With the current state of technology, there is no reason why a search would be less popular than using the native search engine,” he said.
“The Google algorithm is designed to serve the same search results across multiple browsers, which means users can access the same results across many devices.”
Gartners says Australian search search engines should be viewed as the ‘default search engine’ for many users.
“This suggests the default search engine should be Yahoo, Google and Microsoft,” said the report.
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