Feeds

Users: 'Personalized internet? Fuggedaboutit!'

Survey shows Business Plan 2.0 to be unpopular

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

A new research report will make worrying reading for Google and social media companies, as it shows that most consumers don't want their online activity used to personalize search results or advertising.

The study of 2,253 adults, conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life, found that 73 per cent of search-engine users didn't want their search results to be tailored to them based on past searches. Use of internet habits in producing search results was disliked least by respondents under 29, as well as those from ethnic minorities and those earning less than $30,000 a year.

Over two-thirds of respondents didn't want web sites to do targeted advertising that uses their internet history, and just over half said they had noticed targeted advertising that was clearly using such data. Men are better at spotting such ads than women, and the survey showed the more educated and well-paid you were, the more likely you are to see them.

Consumers are pretty clueless about what happens to their browsing history. Only 38 per cent said they were aware of how much data was being collected about them. Web-history deletion was the most common privacy tactic among this group, followed by using the privacy settings on websites and locking down their own browsers.

The results come as Google has shifted its users onto new privacy terms that will increase the amount of information the search giant will collect and use. Meanwhile, Facebook and other social-media companies are making targeted advertising one of the key planks of their business plans - but consumers don't want to play along, it seems.

Google dominating search engine rankings

Google's annihilation of its competition accelerates

The survey had some good news for denizens of the Chocolate Factory, and some very bad news for Yahoo! – and thus, by proxy, Redmond. In comparison with a similar survey in 2004, Google is killing the opposition, with 83 per cent of searches, while Yahoo! and others have all seen their user footprint shrivel.

Search itself is the second most popular activity online, the survey found. Email is still king, used by 92 per cent of people, but search is just a single percentage point behind, ahead of getting news or shopping. Social networking stands at 66 per cent, but is still growing fast.

Overall, people are happy with the accuracy of whichever search engine they choose. Nine out of ten search users were happy with their results, and 73 per cent felt the data they got was accurate. On any given day, 56 per cent of people use internet searching in 2012, compared to 30 per cent in 2004. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.