Google becoming part of our learning process

Not just a place to find facts, but to show that you know the facts

A new study has found that people aren't just using internet search engines for fact-finding missions but as part of their learning processes.

The study extensively looked at 72 participants, who partook in 426 searching tasks. Researchers at Penn State University found that instead of looking for new information, search engines are primarily used to fact check information that you already know.

Moving search forward

"Our results suggest the view of web searchers having simple information needs may be incorrect," explained Jim Jansen, Associate Professor of Information Sciences and Technology.

"Instead, we discovered that users applied simple searching expressions to support their higher-level information needs."

Essentially this means that if you know who won the 1970 football World Cup but want a bit of reassurance then the search engine is there for you.

The research will hopefully help out Google and, more pertinently cognitive search machine Wolfram Alpha, better search functionality in the future, with Jansen noting: "If we can incorporate cognitive, affective and situational aspects of a person, there is the potential to really move search performance forward.

"At its core, we are getting to the motivational elements of search."

Via BoingBoing and Science Daily


Content Team Lead

Marc (Twitter, Google+) is the content team lead for Future Technology, where he is in charge of a 14-strong team of journalists who write many of the wonderful stories that end up on TechRadar, and T3 magazine. Prior to this he was deputy editor of TechRadar, had a 10-month stint editing a weekly iPad magazine, written film reviews for a whole host of publications and has been an integral part of many magazines that are no longer with us.