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January 09, 2008

I Can't Quit the Google Search Drug

If you had asked me if I was using Google search more frequently now or less frequently, compared with my past history, I would have guessed less, as I so heavily use my RSS feeds, bookmarks and news aggregators to navigate the Web. After all, for all my constant talk about Google Reader, I've been relatively silent about Google's core offering - search.

But, according to my Web history, Google shows me that my search activity has not only not decreased, but it is growing dramatically, more than doubling from the beginning of 2007 to the end of the year. By December, Google reports I was searching their index more than 50 times per day!


My Google search usage doubled in 2007


Despite my support of Google and their many products, I haven't seen much need for me to turn on full "Web History", for the company to follow my every page visit, click and download. It seems a bit much. But while that data's not tracked, as long as I'm logged in with my Google ID, Mountain View knows when I'm making calls to their database, what I'm looking for, and if my searches were successful - leading me to click on either a search result, or one of the company's ads.

All told, Google reports I used their search engine more than eleven thousand times last year. And my addiction to simply entering a term into the Google search box in Safari and return got more intense as the year went on. While in the first quarter of the year, I had only racked up 1,930 searches, by the fourth quarter, we tallied 4,116 over the same rough time period, more than doubling.

Why the increase? I'm honestly not sure. My guess is that I'm getting lazy in my URL typing, preferring to enter a keyword and hitting return, knowing Google will get it right. Often, I'll put a pair of words together, or a full story title, to be sure Google's #1 result is accurate, rather than guess at the URL and search the destination site itself.

But Google is, without a doubt, my gateway to the Web, at all hours of the day.


If awake, I'm likely searching Google...


While the above graph is quite small, you can see Google can pretty much tell you when I'm awake, and when I'm not. I made about 600 to 700 searches at every hour between 9 a.m. and midnight last year, with the exception of noon, which dips down, likely as I'm at lunch. Google also reports that I only search half as much during the one a.m. hour, sleep until 7, and search at half the rate from 7-8 a.m. I can't argue with those statistics. They're undoubtedly accurate. But the consistency from hour to hour through the year was astounding. I'm hooked to this Google drug, and constantly need a fix.