Monday, December 24, 2012

Google top searches for 2012 highlights how browsers have been designed to be inefficient to make money for browser businesses.

I noticed a list of the top company brands searched for in Australia (link) using Google and I was quite surprised by a couple of things. First here is a list of the top Australian brand searches.

Top Searches for Australian Brands, 2012
2.Commonwealth Bank

The list isn't what surprised me. What surprised me is different browsers behave in different ways.

If you enter ANZ into your iPhone you go straight to the mobile site for the ANZ. If you enter ANZ into your search are or the address area in Internet Explorer you go to the search engine results. I thought that was weird but interesting. I then investigated further. The Safari browser takes you direct to a site if possible (it gets the site wrong sometimes, try Westpac) but the browsers other than Safari on the desktop, all take you to the search results for the selected search engine. When you think about how the companies make money it makes sense. Apple doesn't do search so sending a person direct to a site is no skin off its nose. Whereas Internet Explorer (Microsoft Bing by default), Chrome (Google), Opera (Google) or Firefox (Google) all make money if you click on ads in the search results. So those browsers are designed to slow you down and display a set of search results with ads which you may click on making them money.

Now we aren't talking about a few searches. We are talking hundreds of millions of searches a year.

For example according to Google's information Gumtree is searched locally 11.1 million times a month.

I then started to think, what if for the most frequently searched words for well known brands the search engine took me straight to the site, and for multiple words or other words took me to my preferred search engine which is Google, but with only pages from Australia which usually gives me the results I want.

I then went through the top 100 sites and the common words used and added those words as well. (Sorry I didn't add porn sites as I like to keep my services family friendly.)

Now I have a search engine which takes me direct to the major banks, weather, news, real estate sites when I type a single word or common phrase and to Google searches results with pages from Australia if the word isn't known.

To add the search engine to Internet Explorer as your default search engine visit my Fun With Search page, scroll to the bottom of the page and you'll find JustLocal Go. Click on the link and add JustLocal Go as your search engine.

Kelvin Eldridge
Online Connections
Call 0415 910 703 for computer advice and support.
UPDATE: I've now added the search engine to JustLocal ( as the Search menu option. In addition if you enter the letters g, y, or b before your search phrase you can send the search to Google, Yahoo or Bing respectively. For those who may be paranoid that Google knows a little too much about them, splitting searches across search engines gives each only a subset of searches.

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