Charles Arthur has made some interesting and unexpected conclusions regarding how Google users search – or how much users search to be more exact. With respect to mobile phones, Arthur concludes that the average person’s use of Google’s search engine is less than one search per day.
Amit Singhal, Google’s head of search, recently said that mobile device use of Google was greater than desktop use across the world (excluding China of course, where the company has an extremely limited presence).
In addition to determining that the average person does less than one search per day on mobile devices, Arthur’s research indicates that desktop and tablet searches resulted in the same figure: less than one per day. Of course, it should be noted that the number of desktops includes millions of units in corporate environments which do not have access to the Internet or do not allow users to search the Internet.
This research essentially indicates that on any given day, only 55% of people conduct one search per day on desktops, less than 15% do two searches and less than 5% do four searches.
And, many of those searches on desktops are extremely low in complexity. In fact, the most common Google search is “Facebook,” which just takes users to Facebook’s site. “Gmail,” “Yahoo,” and “Hotmail” follow. That means that people literally type into Google those terms just to get to another site.
Things are different with respect to mobile devices. People do not generally type in search terms on Google such as “Facebook” or “Gmail.” Rather, they simply use the apps on their phone. This behavior is a big reason why searches on mobile devices are far fewer than those on desktops.
By users just clicking on their apps, Google is losing out. Even though Google search is prominently placed on every Android phone, people generally do not do much searching on mobile devices.
Hence the problem for Google. The number of PC users is static or even declining while the number of people using smartphones is constantly increasing. People simply do not do as much searching on their mobile devices as would be expected. And, it does not appear that there is any obvious way to change that behavior. Users simply rely on their favorite apps rather than use Google’s search engine.
How Google plans to face this reality remains to be seen.