Do You “google”? Understanding Search Engine Use Beyond The Hype

Authors: Eszter Hargittai

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Citation: Hargittai, E. (2004). Do you 'google'? Understanding Search Engine Use Beyond the Hype. First Monday. 9(3)


Much anecdotal evidence suggests that Google is the most popular search engine. However, such claims are rarely backed up by data. The reasons for this are manifold, including the difficulty in measuring search engine popularity and the multiple ways in which the concept can be understood. Here, I discuss the sources of confusion related to search engine popularity. It is problematic to make unfounded assumptions about general users search engine choices because by doing so we exclude a large number of people from our discussions about systems development and our understanding of how the average user finds information online.


  • Introduction
  • Measuring Search Engine Popularity
  • Web Sites Versus Search Engines
  • Conclusion


This paper is based on work supported by the Markle Foundation, NSF grant #IIS0086143 and the Russell Sage Foundation. I am also grateful to the Dan David Foundation for its support.

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