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Pew survey ranks Google high despite privacy concerns

March 09, 2012|By Jessica Guynn
  • Google ranks high in a survey of U.S. search engine users despite privacy concerns.
Google ranks high in a survey of U.S. search engine users despite privacy… (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles…)

Privacy, schmivacy -- though not entirely without jitters.

Google still reigns supreme as the go-to search engine, even if people are bit nervous about how it collects data and targets ads.

A survey from Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 83% of people who use search engines in the U.S. prefer Google, up from 47% in 2004. Yahoo came in second at 6%.

Nine in 10 Americans who use search engines say they find the information they are seeking and nearly as many say they learn something new or important that increased their knowledge. Nearly three-quarters say they trust most or all of the information they find using search engines.

But that doesn't mean Google has not put its dominance in Internet search at risk.

Even though Americans like search engines and they really like Google, they don’t like targeted ads or personalized search results.

Nearly three-quarters of search engine users surveyed say they don't want search engines to mine their personal information to tailor results to their interests, something Google has been doing since January.

More than two-thirds say they don't want to be tracked on the Web or have ads targeted to them.

“Search engines are increasingly important to people in their navigation of information spaces, but users are generally uncomfortable with the idea of their search histories being used to target information to them,” said Kristen Purcell, Pew Internet associate director for research and author of the report, in a written statement. “A clear majority of searchers say that they feel that search engines keeping track of search history is an invasion of privacy, and they also worry about their search results being limited to what’s deemed relevant to them.”

Pew surveyed 2,253 adults including 1,729 Internet users before Google rolled out its new privacy policy March 1.

RELATED:

Google's new privacy policy takes effect despite European protests

Google updates policy to track users across all its services

Google's privacy policy under fire from attorneys general

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