28/06/2012 15:38 | By Matt Farrington-Smith, editor, MSN Tech & Gadgets

Poll: What do we really use search engines for?

These days most of our online adventures begin with a search engine; we want to find things fast and get back to enjoying the internet.



Whether we are searching for our next summer holiday, booking gig tickets, keeping abreast of the latest news or looking-up old school friends we do a lot with our humble search engine.

What do you regularly use a search engine for? Image MSN



The human factor

Microsoft recently conducted a survey on search expectations; it revealed 84% of users expect search to save them time and 77% want search to help them accomplish tasks quickly.

These days search engines are now more akin to hulking behemoths (think King Kong or Godzilla), straddling cities and swatting planes out of the skies with grace and poise. It is with this ease we are able to perform our searches and locate the necessary information to fuel our insatiable thirst for knowledge.

In this respect search engines certainly act as functional tools but they also lack that certain human touch. Bing has been designed to help people get out and do things, remember that King Kong displayed a human heart.

Search technology isn't the only thing that's evolved over the years - the way we use search engines has also shifted significantly too.

tech & gadgets poll
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What do use a search engine for the most? Searching for:

Thanks for being one of the first people to vote. Results will be available soon. Check for results

  1.  
    19 %
    A specific site
    176 votes
  2.  
    13 %
    Latest news and goings-on
    125 votes
  3.  
    10 %
    Images and photos
    98 votes
  4.  
    40 %
    Information (researching)
    367 votes
  5.  
    8 %
    Videos and live streams
    77 votes
  6.  
    3 %
    Download sites and links
    31 votes
  7.  
    7 %
    Shopping and comparison websites
    67 votes

Total Responses: 941
Not scientifically valid. Results are updated every minute.


What do people like doing?

Take one look at the top searches on Bing and you'd think we're all obsessed with Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian, Pippa Middleton's bum, remembrances, deaths and natural disasters. What a delightfully kooky/eclectic mix...

People love searching for famous (and not so famous) celebs; reality TV stars, films, TV shows, singers, footballers (and their wives), the latest tech, major news stories and big sporting moments.


Bing is for Doing?

Search engine usage can broadly be divided into three different areas:

The 'navigational' users will use search to find a specific website. Some still insist on typing a website's URL into the search engine... but who are we to judge, eh?

There are now so-called 'informational' users who use search primarily to look-up specific information on or about things. Informational users will use search for general research needs. Some of the more popular comprise of spellings, word definitions, weather, telephone numbers, song lyrics, and names.

Then we have 'transactional'; these users know what they want and their search will lead to a specific outcome. Examples may include anything from buying a plane ticket to bidding on a mint Spider Man #1.

No matter which of these areas you fall into, search should provide you with more than just a list of results. It should offer additional suggestions that will make you think even bigger..

If you want to do it - search can tell you how, where and when... Whether it's finding out just what is necessary to sail up the Amazon, study acupuncture, learn to make sushi or even where to go in Singapore to make your own music video.

Watch Bing's competition winner travel to the Amazon rainforest. Image MSN

What do you want to do? Ines wanted to climb trees in the Amazon.


Bing wants you to get out there and start doing things you've always wanted to do. It has recently launched the Bing is for Doing campaign - asking Brits what they really want to do in life.

Bing will then make the best ones happen and has already flown one lucky person to the Amazon rainforest to fulfill a childhood dream. You can watch that video here.

Tell Bing what you want to do by visiting facebook.com/binguk.

Visit the Bing is for Doing website
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