Why Store Info When You Can Just Search For It?

from the organization-is-overrated dept

With plenty of companies trying to jump into the search space and take away Google's lead with something "different," it's interesting to note that many people may not realize how people really use search engines. WebProNews is highlighting a new study suggesting that many people use search engines as an alternative to filing away info. That is, they repeat queries all the time, just to find info that they had found before. In fact, 40% of all search queries are repeats. That's probably a lot more than most people imagined -- and it suggests that people are looking at search engines even more as a "second brain" to store info, rather than just as a way to find new information. Why bookmark something when it's probably easier and faster for Google to just find it for you again? Of course, such activities can be dangerous if the search results change, potentially "erasing" the link to a bit of information someone wanted. That's why it's also interesting to note that Google, at least, is now experimenting with a feature to let you store specific links in your own personalized Google results, guaranteeing that they'll be there the next time you search.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: search
Companies: google

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    Joel Coehoorn, 8 Aug 2007 @ 6:52pm

    The only problem with the new google feature is that people don't know if a link is worth saving until after they've visited it. I'll often be searching for something and open 1/2 dozen links in different tabs before I ever switch over to read any of them. That saves some switching back and forth and means the first page is already loaded the moment I go to view it. The downside is that I'm not always sure which link it came from on Google's page.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2007 @ 7:01pm


    Thats why the link turns purple from blue typically. Also, tabbed browsing helps as you can go back to the other tab and (in FireFox anyways) the link you opened will have a dotted box around it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    |333173|3|_||3, 8 Aug 2007 @ 8:59pm

    Re: Re:

    I'm not sure if that is the case in Fx2 (I am not on my computer at the moment), but in Fx1.5 that is not the case. If you are on tab and switch back to the tab from which you opened a link, the last link clicked on that page is marked, not the one that opened the tab you were on.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Greg Armentrout, 9 Aug 2007 @ 4:02am

    Searches easier than a bookmark?

    How could searching for a page possibly be "easier and faster for Google to just find it for you again" than bookmarking a page??
    Unless you're mouse-phobic, isn't one or two clicks that take you right to a page a lot easier and faster than typing a keyword, scrolling a list, and clicking a link that may or may not still be there?
    I would say that a lot of the 40% of users that repeat searches may be unaware of the bookmarking function.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Nasty Old Geezer, 9 Aug 2007 @ 4:48am

    Re: Searches easier than a bookmark?

    I have some things that I search for repeatedly -- but I rerun searches to get updated info, links, etc. For a permament link to a site, I bookmark.

    My expectation is that many of the repetitve searches are just that - get the latest and greatest -- not a replacement for static links.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    JSF, 9 Aug 2007 @ 6:22am

    It's sort of an extension of the Albert Einstein quote "Never memorize what you can look up in books".

    I run the same search multiple times for a number of different reasons.

    First, as others have mentioned, sometimes you want to see if there are any new pages associated with the query. This particularly applies to very recent events where new information is coming up frequently. It also applies to some older topics that evolve over relatively long time periods of months or even years.

    Second, there are some categories of stuff I search where if I bookmarked all the pages I would soon need a search function for my bookmarks. A good example of this is error messages/numbers generated by applications. In the course of a month I probably see 100+ error numbers that I need to investigate. Many of them are frequent repeats that you just plain remember after a while, but a good 50% or more are infrequently repeated with weeks or even months in between occurances.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Chris McMahon, 9 Aug 2007 @ 7:21am

    Desktop Search

    I've stopped being so anal about filing away files on my own computer and use Google Desktop Search as an Explorer replacement.

    I also use it to look-up contact info instead of opening up the Address Book in Outlook. Just type the person's name and it returns their contact info.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Rob Delve, 9 Aug 2007 @ 10:31pm

    Search or Store?

    For me, repeated searches are usually because I am oblivious to the bookmarking features, when I'm not specifically looking for anything, or when I'm researching people/happenings to share with others. For instance, one of the most common searches I perform is "Portable Applications" this is still a new thing to many people and the concept is still gradually evolving, therefore NastyOldGeezer would be right with his statement.
    When I'm researching people/happenings, it's usually for a game, often I'll take information from the pages directly, something I think is what I want at the time, but usually I decide I want more or want other people to check over it, to see what their opinions are. I'm sure both of the methods I use when rerunning a search is the same for many people.
    When I find a WEBSITE (not usually a certain page) that intrigues me, I will always bookmark it without hesitation for future reference. Having said that though, there are images and some pages that I have bookmarked, but I have no idea why...maybe I was just making my huge bookmark list, a lot bigger...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)


Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.