Blog - BS Data, hackery, stories

Why on earth do you search instead of typing the URL?

Yes, that happens sometimes. I needed to find a story to write about, and as a result of such a common quest I found myself wandering on Google Trends. And I found something quite peculiar.
I opened the 'Explore' page, desperate enough to see what other people were looking.

What a surprise:

This basically means that a huge majority (I can't overstate it) of internet users search for a page instead of going to the page, even if they know its adress. Yes, I am in shock. I thought that only my grandmother was doing it.

Are users dumb enough to do that? It seems extremely stupid and highly illogical to:

  1. search for 'facebook'
  2. wait for the results from Google
  3. click on facebook.com

Josh Catone noted in 2008 that:

Surprisingly, people actually often search for entire domain names rather than type them into their browser's address bar.

And yes, people still do that in 2013. Progress, you said?

However, this weird interaction could be explained by the merging of the address bar and the search bar. I personally do not use the search box anymore, since Chrome introduced its "omnibox" in 2008, following the announcement of an "awesome box" for Firefox 3.
Still, all the modern browsers offer autocompletion - meaning that after visiting facebook.com, beginning to type "fac" in your adress bar will propose you "facebook.com" and a direct access to the page. As a result of the autocompletion it was feared in 2008 that the search traffic would die:

A potential issue with the address bar, for Mozilla, is that it decreases users' reliance on the search bar.
— Rafe Needleman on CNet, 14 May, 2008

It did not happen, as far as I know.
Still, I am confused by such irrational behaviours.