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The Internet

Changing Use of Internet? 181

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the everything-seems-so-different-now dept.
CodeHog writes "Wired has an interesting article on the perceived changing use of the Internet. Perceived perhaps because it appears that these findings are based partly on search topics. What's more interesting is what it means to the tech community at large. Could this be a new area of tech jobs, setting up and maintaining ecommerce sites, creating search assisting applications?"
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Changing Use of Internet?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 28, 2004 @01:53PM (#10655776)
    People have already found their porn and don't need to search for it anymore.
  • You Miles May Vary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fembots (753724) on Thursday October 28, 2004 @01:54PM (#10655788) Homepage
    "Twenty percent of all searching was sex-related back in 1997; now it's about 5 percent,"

    Maybe people are now accessing sex-related sites via links in spams, why seek when it comes to you?

    and randomly selected thousands of search sessions from more than 1 million they culled anonymously from search engines such as AltaVista.

    Is AltaVista still a credible source for research?

    All in all, I believe the change in searching pattern may more likely be caused by returned results. At the moment there are too many noises when searching for real sex-related sites, most of them are full of pop-up and nothing useful, but a e-commerce search may return more desirable results, thus people keep on searching them.
    • by UCRowerG (523510)
      in 1997 the internet was brand new to most of the world. there weren't things like kazaa, donkey, or morpheus that can search videos as well as music. i wonder if most people don't have websites bookmarked already or search for pr0n via personals websites, usenet, or p2p.
      • Not technically true -- late 1997 is when Scour.net appeared, and I vaguely remember similar sites (like the *.box.sk network) being present around the same time. There was also the option of using Infoseek (or other search engines) to track down filenames on open FTP servers. It might not have been as easy as it is now, true, but to say that such things simply didn't exist in 1997 at all is inaccurate. :)
    • by rednip (186217) <rednip AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday October 28, 2004 @02:09PM (#10655961) Journal
      All in all, I believe the change in searching pattern may more likely be caused by returned results.
      I still liked the research's idea
      ..said of the findings. "Remember when cars came out, and people would say, 'Wow, we're going for a ride today!' Now they just go for a ride."
      So, I guess sex is that easy to find, why are we still having so much trouble?!

      In addtion to your point about the crap that is returned by a generic search for 'sex', What I really think is happening is that the volume of searches is going up, while people are becoming familiar with 'their favorite' hotspots and they don't need to look.

      • I can remember spending DAYS looking for pictures of topless girls on Splash Mountain. DAYS.

        When I found the pictures, I was pretty disappointed...but I probably still jerked off at least once. Boobs are good, almost no matter what.
      • by mattdm (1931)
        ..said of the findings. "Remember when cars came out, and people would say, 'Wow, we're going for a ride today!'" ...

        What *I* want to know is: just how old are these researchers?
    • by justforaday (560408) on Thursday October 28, 2004 @02:15PM (#10656020)
      At the moment there are too many noises when searching for real sex-related sites, most of them are full of pop-up and nothing useful

      I don't know if i'd consider a pop-up "nothing useful" when talking about porn...
      • "I don't know if i'd consider a pop-up "nothing useful" when talking about porn..."

        Well, I guess that's a matter of personal taste... can't say pics of pop-ups are that big over here.
    • by hackstraw (262471) *
      Maybe people are now accessing sex-related sites via links in spams, why seek when it comes to you?

      Yeah, I get almost everything I need from spam. Sex, drugs, drugs for sex, real fake rolex watches, mortgages, free TVs, iPods, Xboxes, cures for SARS and AIDS, college degrees (up to PhD!), free money, cheap software and computers. All that from scanning my spam inbox.

      OK, when I first saw this article, everyone knows that you cannot search for sex or porn on the net. It simply does not work. It does no
    • "Twenty percent of all searching was sex-related back in 1997; now it's about 5 percent,"

      Alternatively, people search for exactly the same amount of sex-related that they used to, but they make 4x as many searches as they used to, so it's decreased as a fraction of the total but not in absolute terms.

      Without a lot more details, nearly any explanation is possible.


    • "Twenty percent of all searching was sex-related back in 1997; now it's about 5 percent,"

      Believe it or not, most people don't include porn in their regular searching habits, some people really *do* use the web for work stuff. My crappy link site is one example - people actually go there to learn about the subject matter.

      Porn this, porn that, every new technology is first pioneered by porn...

      Bullshit.

      We non-computer techhies are turned on by nipples [uscg.mil], trycocks [nku.edu] and laying pipe [humorplanet.com]. And we know where the
  • Its true! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Kenja (541830) on Thursday October 28, 2004 @01:55PM (#10655797)
    Now you can put that four years of school to work at home in your spare time selling and buying stuff on eBay for the russian mafia.
  • MIS (Score:3, Funny)

    by craigtay (638170) on Thursday October 28, 2004 @01:56PM (#10655805) Journal
    So, basically.. your telling me that I should drop out of the Computer Science program at my school and pick up a degree in MIS, so I can make crappy webpages the rest of my life?
    • Exactly .... it worked for me and now my career is going great.

      You can party more often because you won't need to study and best of all, that MIS degree will boost your popularity with those who stayed in the CS program.
    • Re:MIS (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Chibi (232518) on Thursday October 28, 2004 @02:09PM (#10655957) Journal
      So, basically.. your telling me that I should drop out of the Computer Science program at my school and pick up a degree in MIS, so I can make crappy webpages the rest of my life?


      I have an advanced degree in computer science. Trust me, there's nothing stopping you from getting your degree and having a future filled with making crappy webpages. :)

      • Stay in school finish the CS degree, but do not leave until you get a Business degree to go with it. I whish I had. The 300 level business department courses I took for my "area of emphasis" (MIS) in my CS program were a spoonfeeding trip to candyland compared to Chem, Diff. Eq. and other CS *PREREQS* for cryin' out loud. By the time you're done with a BS. You should be able to almost sleep through a BA in biz in about 1 to 1 & 1/2 years. Durring that time you can audit all of the cool 400/500 leve
    • Or you can get a MS in Usability, like me, and spend the rest of your life fixing other peoples' crappy webpages for the rest of your life.

  • by garcia (6573) * on Thursday October 28, 2004 @01:56PM (#10655808) Homepage
    What hasn't changed much in seven years is how hard people are willing to work at searching. The answer: not very. Spink and Jansen found that people averaged about two words per query and two queries per search session.

    What has changed though is that two words per query gives a much more accurate result than it used to. I use google for everything including UPS Tracking, math conversions, and tracking down where/when my name/email address is used. This sort of information just wasn't available 7+ years ago.

    People aren't searching so much for porn because there is so much more information that is already indexed. You used to search for X and most of the first page of results were for porn. Perhaps that's why it seemed so popular? Maybe it was because the earliest adopters of the Internet were "fringe" people more interested in finding other "fringe" activities?
    • That, or people already know where all the pr0n is located and don't need to search for it. In this day and age with all of the "Thumb Collection" websites (for both images and video), why not just go directly to the sites?

      Of course, I wouldn't know first hand, I'm just relaying information that I've heard from "people I know".
    • by RealProgrammer (723725) on Thursday October 28, 2004 @02:44PM (#10656292) Homepage Journal
      Maybe it was because the earliest adopters of the Internet were "fringe" people more interested in finding other "fringe" activities?

      I refer to that as the Green Tennis Shoes Principle. Somewhere in your area there is someone whose very favorit thing is green tennis shoes. It's their life, but no one understands. The Internet makes it possible for these isolated folks to communicate and share their perspective with each other.

      Seen across the entire spectrum of favorite things, you have a whole series of microcultures (and thus micromarkets) that didn't exist 10 years ago.

      It used to be that the bulk of Internet content was computer-related, since you have to have a computer to get to the Internet. It was of universal interest, and within that you had everyone from the PDP-8-lovers list to people wanting recipe programs for their Mac.

      As non-geeks got connected, sex became the least common denominator. Within that (I would guess) the principle still applies, as people approach that from different points of view as well.

      As people are using computers and the Internet for everything, and searches are getting easier and more effective, all the most common interests are splintering and the microcultures are maturing.

      What the ramifications are for society, and civilization, is more than I can wrap my little head around.

      • What the ramifications are for society, and civilization, is more than I can wrap my little head around.

        As far as I can tell, there seems to be two major lines of theories on that:
        a) Uniformity
        b) Polarization

        The uniformity theory and its derivates claim that we're all getting more equal. Culture, ethics, society and language mix across borders, ethnic regions and social groups. In this way we approach a monoculture around the world. Positive directions consider this to be universal standards of human rig
    • Porn seekers have helped develop several fledgling markets. In the 70s, some of the earliest adopters of VCRs were people who wanted to watch porn in the privacy of their own home. These people went on to buy video cameras. In the 90s, they started using Usenet and the web to download stills. Their demand for streaming video opened up the market for high speed connections, chat rooms, web cams, and other tools. Now they've moved on to P2P. There are probably cases that predate the 70s, but I haven't thought
  • Correction (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    That should be internets.
  • It would also be interesting to compare shopping not just with sex, but with political subject-matter.


    • Its been a long day...

      I read that as combine shopping not just with sex, but with political subject matter.

      Now the first two no problem, but now I have this mental image of paying certain major political candidates for sex that I can't get out of my head. Of course, we'll get screwed in the end anyway...

  • by VE3ECM (818278) on Thursday October 28, 2004 @01:57PM (#10655817)
    "'Twenty percent of all searching was sex-related back in 1997; now it's about 5 percent,' said Amanda Spink, the University of Pittsburgh professor who co-authored Web Search...."

    Hello? Of course it's dropped: most people don't use search engines for pr0n anymore. They use P2P!!!!

    I wonder how much of a percentage increase there's been in P2P search terms?

    • > Hello? Of course it's dropped: most people don't use search engines for pr0n anymore. They use P2P!!!!

      Besides, nowadays porn is advertised everywhere and there, so noone really needs to search for it.
    • Back in 1997, the number of internet users was lower than it is today. Now that I think about it, the rise of the web really has been an amazing transformation. I remember when my grade was trying to get funding among the teachers for a modem of triple digit speed.. anyway.

      Additionally, the number of people who were *on* the internet of that lower count were, well, Slashdotters. And sometimes, you know, you're bored at work, and maybe you have a cubicle with your screen away from.. well, anyway.

      I'd like t
    • Exactly.

      The search engine is built into the P2P clients, who needs to hit the web for porn? I mean, Music, er. TV Commericals, ya.. Thats it..

  • Yeah, well... (Score:1, Redundant)

    by DrEldarion (114072)
    "Twenty percent of all searching was sex-related back in 1997; now it's about 5 percent"

    That doesn't really tell us much besides how many people searched for sex-related things through a search-engine. Many people nowdays know they'll have much better luck if they use Kazaa/Bittorrent/DC++/etc.

    You can't use Kazaa to buy a microwave, though.
  • by Spackler (223562) on Thursday October 28, 2004 @01:58PM (#10655831) Journal
    Doods,

    Sorry, it was me who cut down on the sex searches and stuff. I'm getting older, and there are more things involved in life now. I know, it's an old excuse to cut down. Wife and kidz will do that to you someday as well. I had figured there was another young rebel behind me, so make sure Libby and Jenna would still get plenty of page hits in seach engines. I thought I passed the torch to some first class deviants. Instead, you search for Biz and TV and crap. You don't deserve the internet.

    Spack
  • Make up your mind! (Score:3, Informative)

    by dema (103780) on Thursday October 28, 2004 @01:59PM (#10655842) Homepage
    "That makes sense because e-commerce in the last seven years has boomed," said Gary Price, news editor of SearchEngineWatch.com, a branch of Connecticut-based Jupitermedia.com, which reports on Internet surfing. (emphasis mine)

    Didn't Wired say [slashdot.org] that they wouldn't capitalize "internet" any longer? Liars!

    And interestingly the original story [wired.com] appears to be gone.
  • When I first started on the Internet, it consisted of academic nerds, computer scientists, a very small handful of professionals (doctors, lawyers, clergy, etc.) and system administrators. Pretty bland.

    Nowadays with the great Mass on the 'net things are much more entertaining.
  • by Transcendent (204992) on Thursday October 28, 2004 @02:03PM (#10655885)
    Could this be a new area of tech jobs, setting up and maintaining ecommerce sites, creating search assisting applications?

    Yea... it's called a search engine...
    • I think there will be a bunch of Google-based meta businesses appearing over the next couple of years. In a couple of different industries i've seen a rough trend: a bunch of information that didn't used to be on-line is now on-line. The initial reaction is "Wow, this is great, i can do all sorts of stuff i couldn't before". But after a while you start to hear: "This isn't information, this is data. I need something to categorize, qualify, and support decisions".

      So, i predict that we'll see more busi
  • by fafaforza (248976) on Thursday October 28, 2004 @02:04PM (#10655894)
    I don't think anyone would be surprised by or interested in these findings. All you have to see the trend is look at google search results for any product. Most results in the first few pages are for ecommerce sites. Add to that the sponsored links on the sides and top of the page. Try finding any personal pages about a Thinkpad T41.

    7 years ago, few trusted the online purchasing process. Submitting credit card info, worrying about refunds and credit, vendor trustworthiness, hackers, etc.

    Since then, there's been a gold rush on the Internet. All major retailers and business people moved in smelling money. That made the process of buying stuff faster, more streamlined and more secure. It takes a handfull of clicks to buy stuff on eBay and pay for it with paypal. So obviously more people were attracted by it, the process achieved mass market appeal, and it pushed everything out of the way.

    I don't see where the news is.

    • Try finding any personal pages about a Thinkpad T41.

      Google the next 3 words with punctuation:
      IBM "my T41"

      • > > Try finding any personal pages about a Thinkpad T41.
        >
        >Google the next 3 words with punctuation: IBM "my T41"

        "I love my T41, but the palm rest platic groans and creaks whenever it flexes."

        Oooooh. Thinkpr0n. Kinky!

  • by jht (5006) on Thursday October 28, 2004 @02:05PM (#10655909) Homepage Journal
    In other words, that which was super-hot and world-transforming back in the late '90s gold rush is hot again?

    Or is it that nowadays companies are actually simply using the Internet as a tool instead of trying to change the world? The companies that survived the meltdown are now (mostly) making money, and the new ones have learned from the lessons of the failed ones. Nobody blinks when Amazon makes a profit any more, after all.

    Pr0n was what everybody was hunting for back in the days when the Internet was a novelty - but nowadays that's a wasted use of a search engine. It's not so much that the uses of the Internet have changed. It's more that the Internet isn't "shiny and new" anymore, so a lot of the things that were popular when it was a novelty aren't such a big deal any more.

    Here on Slashdot, though, we just keep on chugging along...
  • by xThinkx (680615) on Thursday October 28, 2004 @02:05PM (#10655910) Homepage

    Red Moon appears in the sky

    Boston wins the world series

    INTERNET BEING USED FOR SOMETHING PRODUCTIVE

    Oh dear lord, we're all doomed!

    • I actually already predicted the apocalypse for today, let me explain.

      I have Dr. Stroustrop (C++ Stroustrop) as one of my lecturers here at Texas A&M.
      Yesterday, he said "howdy"
      It was weird as hell.

      Later on in the class, he made a reference to the HHGTG
      Today, I have my calculus exam, on my last calculus exam, I got a 42, exactly

      Yesterday was also an eclipse, an obvious sign that the planets are aligning.

      I for one welcome our apocalyptic overlords... ;)
    • I think the parent post and this post, both of which are not even remotely productive and may be counterproductive, invalidate the premise of bullet point three.
  • E-Commerce? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Chas (5144)
    Translation: They've already got all the free porn. Now they're looking to buy more.
  • Twenty percent of all searching was sex-related back in 1997; now it's about 5 percent

    They see this and find some sort of shift in the way people are using the Internet.

    I see this and think "SLACKERS!!!!"
    • Maybe these two are just so out-a-touch that they don't recognise sex/porn keywords when they see them in a search query. Hard-core porn freaks are going to be looking for the good illegal stuff which is purposely hard to find if you don't know the correct lingo.
  • by Tenebrious1 (530949) on Thursday October 28, 2004 @02:07PM (#10655933) Homepage
    Why would anyone need to use a search engine to look for porn? I mean, doesn't one out of every three spam messages have a link to some new porn site?

    Type any word into the address bar, and chances are it'll link to some porn site. Misspell any popular website and likewise you'll see porn.

    Nobody has to search for it, it's pretty hard to avoid.

  • Depression (Score:5, Funny)

    by Matey-O (518004) <michaeljohnmiller@mSPAMsSPAMnSPAM.com> on Thursday October 28, 2004 @02:07PM (#10655935) Homepage Journal
    There's not as many sex searches cause seeing 30 new people a day getting it more than you are gets depressing after awhile.

  • Makes sense to me (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Skynet (37427) on Thursday October 28, 2004 @02:08PM (#10655952) Homepage
    People in search of pornography and sex are much more willing to actively search it out and be early adopters of new technologies that may further their habits. Heck, I was on USENET getting pr0n when I was still in high school!

    E-commerce and shopping is more of a "mainstream" use of the Internet and it makes sense now that the Internet has become so pervasive. Even average users are learning how to go onto Amazon and order stuff. If my mother-in-law can do it, anyone can.
  • "Could this be a new area of tech jobs, setting up and maintaining ecommerce sites, creating search assisting applications?"

    Look, man, it's over. The crazy tech boom is done. Let it go. Take some management classes or something. You keep this up and we're going to report you to Unemployed Tech Workers Anonymous and organize an intervention for you.

  • by Juvenall (793526) on Thursday October 28, 2004 @02:11PM (#10655972) Homepage
    From the Article:
    "Remember when cars came out, and people would say, 'Wow, we're going for a ride today!' Now they just go for a ride." Oh yes, how could ANY of us not remember that! Hey, you guys remember the time Lothar was smashing those rocks together and invented fire. Ahh, those were the days..
    • Oh yes, how could ANY of us not remember that!

      I remember, because I always seem to get stuck driving behind them. Apparenlty they think they're still driving Model T's because they don't go over 30mph. And turn off the blinker already!

  • Lazyness (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ironsides (739422) on Thursday October 28, 2004 @02:11PM (#10655982) Homepage Journal
    What hasn't changed much in seven years is how hard people are willing to work at searching. The answer: not very. Spink and Jansen found that people averaged about two words per query and two queries per search session.

    "The searches are taking less than five minutes, and they're only looking at the first page of results," Spink said. "That's why people are wanting to get their results on the first page" of search engine results.

    "We were surprised that people weren't doing more complex searches," Spink said. "If you put a couple of words into the web, you're going to get hundreds of thousands of results. I think people aren't trained very well to use the search engines."


    Having worked in a college library having to help other students find stuff I am amazed at how non-geeks think all they have to do is type in a word/sentence/phrase and they think the computer will magically bring them what they are looking for. It would take an hour to get them to grasp the idea of "keywords" and that putting in more keywords only narrows the results without using any operators (AND, OR). Even when they came back with zero results they would add more words thinking that they could get a hit this time. The main reason is that most people have no idea how the search engines work and instead think that it is as capable as a human sitting down and looking at everything. When they learn how it all works they will start doing smarter seaches and get less lazy.
    • I only use a couple words at a time to search. I see what kind of results that gives me, and do a second or third search with one or more keywords if I don't find what I'm after. Plus, Minus, and Quotes are the only three punctuation marks I use.

      The only time I use a sentence is when I'm searching for a quote.
    • Even when they came back with zero results they would add more words thinking that they could get a hit this time.

      I've run into people like that too. I don't think that it's laziness but more a lack of understanding or abstract reasoning about the concept of searching. Teaching them the concept of keywords is probably the best way.

      I've seen people not be able to tell the difference between the address bar and the keyword text box on a search page. They'll type a web address in the search page and/or sp

    • Re:Lazyness (Score:3, Funny)

      by pipingguy (566974)

      the idea of "keywords" and that putting in more keywords only narrows the results without using any operators (AND, OR)

      Oh, how I pine for AltaVista in 1997...or was it HotBot?
  • by GillBates0 (664202) on Thursday October 28, 2004 @02:13PM (#10655993) Homepage Journal
    Internet users are doing far fewer searches for sex and pornography and more for e-commerce and business than they were seven years ago, University of Pittsburgh and Penn State researchers say in a new book.

    There you go:
    Google search for s3x [google.com]
    Google search for pr0n [google.com]

    In other news, "Internet searches" for the terms in question skyrocketed through the roof today leaving the UPitt and Pennstate researchers puzzled and dismayed. It appears one of the Master's thesis was withdrawn after the event. More at 11.

  • I need some PORN... ooooh, donut!
  • by misleb (129952) on Thursday October 28, 2004 @02:17PM (#10656036)
    Could this be a new area of tech jobs, setting up and maintaining ecommerce sites, creating search assisting applications?

    Talk about exportable jobs...

  • by techstar25 (556988) <techstar25.cfl@rr@com> on Thursday October 28, 2004 @02:19PM (#10656049) Homepage Journal
    Back in 1997 the only people who were using the internet at all were people looking for porn. I remember in 1996 being at a friends house and seeing all the free porn and thinking "I have to get this internet thing!"
    Now that the internet has become ubiquitus a much greater number of people have access and are accessing it. So now the percentage of people searching for porn is approaching the percentage of the general public who buy adult magazines, or rent adult videos (which is a lot higher that you think).
  • by Anonymous Coward
    "...far fewer searches for sex and pornography..."

    Less searching for sex may mean less interest in sex OR it may mean that the criteria used to rate a search for sex has not kept up with the sort of sex people are searching for.

    "...people averaged about two words per query and two queries per search session..."

    Maybe it's just easier to find stuff now. I don't think so. Do a search on almost any exotic term and the first page on google's right hand column will offer dozens of links to people wishing to se
  • Or.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by PhilipMckrack (311145) on Thursday October 28, 2004 @02:20PM (#10656068)
    Undersexed nerds have gone from 20% of the users in 1997 to 5% today as more and more *regular* people can get computers and connected to the internet.
  • I'm full up (Score:2, Insightful)

    by LanMan04 (790429)
    "Twenty percent of all searching was sex-related back in 1997; now it's about 5 percent,"

    I'd say most people have more porn than they can look at in a lifetime, and in addition now that EVERYONE is using the internet, a much smaller percentage of the overall searching population are horny geeks. I had a webpage in 97 (and was in highschool), so you can guess what part of the searching population I fell into...=)
  • by adzoox (615327) on Thursday October 28, 2004 @02:26PM (#10656125) Journal
    There has been a fundamental shift in the way information is perceived.

    The current election is the best example. More people have more access to information about this election than in any other part in history. The BLOG has reached new heights because of it. Some larger BLOGs have been able to score advertising dollar. As new topics to discuss become available - other BLOGs will pop up to debate and discuss them.

    Once these BLOGs reach a certain point... you have a person who has the ability to write the content but not maintain the advertising, budget, time, maintenance.

    This is where the support industry will start to focus - on the upkeep of smaller niche networks.

    You'll have 20 smaller clients rather than 3 large accounts.

  • by JavaLord (680960) on Thursday October 28, 2004 @02:27PM (#10656136) Journal
    "Twenty percent of all searching was sex-related back in 1997; now it's about 5 percent,"

    How much of this has to do with more women and old people on the internet? I doubt that the number of overall sex searches is down, but the demographics of internet users have likely changed a lot since 1997. On top of that, add in the amount of filtering software nowadays in the workplace and academia alone that discourages that sort of thing.
  • by RTFA (697910) on Thursday October 28, 2004 @02:29PM (#10656157)
    "Twenty percent of all searching was sex-related back in 1997; now it's about 5 percent,"

    Well, easy, I got a girlfiend since '98!
  • Manager speak (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rmarll (161697) on Thursday October 28, 2004 @02:32PM (#10656186) Journal
    Could this be a new area of tech jobs, setting up and maintaining ecommerce sites, creating search assisting applications?

    That looks like a long winded variation on googlejacking.
  • Kind of scary... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jmcmunn (307798) on Thursday October 28, 2004 @02:35PM (#10656219)
    The internet certainly has changed. Instead of surfing for porn or searching for hours to find an mp3 or picture or whatever, it's all at my finger tips.

    But I rely so much on the internet to function on a daily basis. I think about this all the time. When I have a question now, the first place I look is Google. Very rarely can I not find an answer that comes from a relatively reputable source. And it is much quicker than any means of research.

    Also, I show and pay all of my bills online. This is a big convenience, no more paper checks or bills, no more stamps.

    But what would my life be like without the internet now? I can honestly say that if I were 100% cut off from the internet I would find it difficult to adjust for awhile. Sure, I can go back to snail mail and stamps and all of that without too much of a fuss, but I rely on the internet for my news most of the time as well.

    But I would find it very difficult to do research of any type, or simply to answer a nagging question about whatever topic we happen to talk about at the water cooler. The convenience of having billions of web pages at my finger tips has hobbled my ability to research in any other fashion, and made me impatient when I can't get an answer in 2 minutes of Google'ing.

    Anyone else out there have the same problem?
  • "Well, thanks to the Internet I'm now bored with sex."
    -Fry, A Bicyclops Built For Two

    ...it just happened about 1,000 years early.
  • I RTFA'd (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DesertFalcon (670699)
    The last sentence is "I think people aren't trained very well to use the search engines."

    I'm stuck between going "No duh?" and "bull!#*&".

    No duh because, take a look around and see who's online - pretty much anyone who wants to be. You think they're going to bother learning how to optimize search results so that Google will pull 100 records instead of 15,000? As long as they get what they want, the answer is a vehement "No."

    "Bull!$#%" because, on the flip side, maybe people shouldn't be required to
  • by Random BedHead Ed (602081) on Thursday October 28, 2004 @03:29PM (#10656669) Homepage Journal
    "We were surprised that people weren't doing more complex searches," Spink said. "If you put a couple of words into the web, you're going to get hundreds of thousands of results. I think people aren't trained very well to use the search engines."

    Don't be surprised - people seem to need training for everything, even rather simple tasks like search. Let's face it, using quotes and expected words in your search narrows down your results substantially, and it is extremely easy to do. But while it's hard for this crowd (or Wired's) to understand, most users need to take Search 101 rather than figure it out themselves.

    Search is just the tip of the iceberg. When some (maybe even most) people sit in front of a computer they lose access to about half their brain cells for some still unexplained reason. This is why we have spyware, unpatched machines running mail trojans for spammers, and e-mails with Word document attachments containing the text that should have been in the e-mail. Welcome to the Internet. Do try to avoid the braindead during your stay.

  • I was wondering how anyone could find this surprising, but then I came across the gem:

    ..said of the findings. "Remember when cars came out, and people would say, 'Wow, we're going for a ride today!' Now they just go for a ride."

    If the researchers are old enough to remember cars coming out, their brains are fossilized.

  • When every newspaper and every government document is on the web, it fundamentally changes democracy, society, and -- oh, yeah -- popular search engine queries.

    This has only happened since 2002 -- forget 1997.

  • Barry Wellman, a University of Toronto cyberspace researcher, said of the findings. "Remember when cars came out, and people would say, 'Wow, we're going for a ride today!' Now they just go for a ride."

    Uh, no Barry, I don't remember when cars came out, how frickin' old ARE you!?

    And, hello, "cyberspace researcher" at University of Toronto? Is that your official title?? What's that pay, I have a few websites to research...

  • by 5n3ak3rp1mp (305814) on Thursday October 28, 2004 @04:30PM (#10657313) Homepage
    Once I found WebGrazer [dekorte.com], I pretty much never needed to search for pr0n ever again.

    For OS X only ;)

  • "Twenty percent of all searching was sex-related back in 1997"...

    and a little later:
    "They're not getting excited about using the internet anymore"

"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?" -- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)

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