Search and e-mail still the top online activities

A new study from Pew Internet found that using search engines and grabbing e-mail are the two top activities among people online.

Searching and e-mailing remain the two top activities in the online world, according to a recent study from Pew Internet.

Released yesterday, the results of a Pew survey conducted in May found that 92 percent of online adults use search engines to hunt for information on the Web, and 59 percent do so on a typical day.

Matching search in popularity was e-mail, with 92 percent of adults polled last November sending and receiving it, and 61 percent doing so on a typical day.

Pew Internet

Drilling down further, search proved most popular among the younger crowd (18 to 29), 96 percent of whom tap into search engines. But even among those 65 and older, 87 percent search for information online. People who have gone to college and bring home high incomes are slightly more likely to use search engines when compared with other adults, especially on a daily basis.

Likewise, e-mail is most popular among younger adults, college graduates, and high earners, especially on a typical day.

These latest findings mimic results from as early as 2002 when Pew found that more than eight in ten adults polled were using search engines and more then nine in ten were tapping into e-mail, making them the most popular activities almost a decade ago.

The percentages have risen overtime as more people have hopped online. In January 2002, only 49 percent of the online adults polled used e-mail every day and just 29 percent used a search engine daily. Today, around six out of every ten adults do both on a daily basis.

The results for search were compiled from a survey conducted by Pew in May among 2,277 adults. The results for e-mail come from a survey conducted last November among 2,257 adults.

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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