Search engine queries get longer: Are people talking to their computers?

According to Hitwise (, search engine queries are trending up in terms of the number of words. No longer are people typing only one or two words into browser search prompts, it would seem.

However, the story leaves us with questions such as:

  • Are people typing in whole questions? And if so, are they getting good answers? (possible evidence that people are beginning to accept the possibility of artificial intelligence)
  • Are people just using the autocomplete feature that is available in many search toolbars? (possible evidence that users are as apathetic and unoriginal as they’ve always been, and so there is no cause for excitement)
  • Are people looking for much more targeted results? (possible sign that they are getting more sophisticated in their understanding of the semantic Web)
  • Are people looking to avoid irrelevant crap that tends to surface with results? (possible evidence that they are trying to avoid SEO spam)

More information:
Hitwise posted a chart of the increase in frequency seen year by year for search queries of one through eight words. The chart reads like a scoring guide for the word game Boggle —

6 words: 8% increase in frequency of searches
7 words: 12% increase
8 words: 22% increase

The chart information source was Hitwise, an Experian Company (the credit reporting agency).