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Some of the most interesting numbers:
91% of all internet users are using search engines at least occasionally.
70% of the search engine users are using Google as their primary search engine, while Yahoo (10%) and Lycos (5%) are following far behind.
14% of the users did already use an advanced search option, but 41% of the users don't even know that such options exist.
(They got these numbers by a telephone survey.)
In 81% of the searches the users are just looking at the first result page.
9% of all search queries contain typos.
21% of the queries are single-word-queries.
59% of the queries are multi-word-queries without the explicit usage of boolean operators.
(These numbers were found out in a laboratory test with about 150 people of different internet experience.)
The complete study contains 544 pages and is written in german. It can be obtained from Bertelsmann Stiftung.
In France, my feeling is that the only people who don't use Google are those who have just set up their web access by putting the cd of their access provider in their machine - and don't know that they can then change the "home page" of their browser.
This is another reason why the PFI model is not the way to go. Google is ruling everywhere based on free inclusion of all sites, and a constantly changing, growing algorythm.
As soon as PFI is factored in, the quality of the database is negatively affected by limiting the sites within it.
I hope the other search engines begin to realize that they are just beating their heads against the wall by going down the path of PFI. If they want to succeed, they must have good relevance and they must include as much of the web as possible.
Why would anyone choose to search on a search engine that is a sub-set of a larger search engine, if relevance is equal? As long as Google continues to crawl and include for free, and continues to work towards better and better relevance, the other models just don't make sense.