Google dominates the minds and desktops of Internet users, with Yahoo a distant second, according to a nationwide consumer survey on search engines whose results were released today by Standard & Poor’s Equity Research Services.
The survey’s findings indicate that 48% of search engine users say they use Google most overall, compared to 20% for Yahoo, 14% for MSN and 7% for AOL. However, Google could face challenges as it expands beyond search into offerings such as comparative shopping, social networking, and e-mail services.
According to the survey, search engine user satisfaction is quite high, with most users (83%) saying they are extremely pleased with the search engines they use, and two-thirds of users (67%) have been using their search engines of choice for more than two years. Google is the most widely used search engine, primarily because of the relevance and accuracy of its results.
However, more than six out of 10 Google users (63%) indicated they would switch search engines if a better service came along. Importantly for Google’s free e-mail service called Gmail, less than one out every four search engine users would be very likely (8%) or somewhat likely (15%) to sign up for and regularly use a new personal e-mail service if it offered unlimited storage and the capacity to search old e-mails, and would search e-mails to target advertising to users.