Your puzzling behaviour...

Submitted by Poetry Aloud on Mon, 14/09/2009 - 21:57

I would like to understand some puzzling behaviour I have come across three times now.

A couple of days ago someone called me and asked for some advice to do with computing. My answer involved giving them the web address for OpenOffice, which I highly recommend instead of paying money for a commercial offering. OpenOffice is free and does everything you need it to do in much the same way as a common one.

I gave the address http://openoffice.org. A little later they called me back and said they didn't know which option to choose. I know there are only five options presented in large type with no confusing clutter on the screen. However, my friend began reading all sorts of strange things that had been presented. I looked at the OpenOffice site and could not see any of it.

After a discussion about this it turned out that rather than type the address into the address bar of his browser he had typed it into the Google search box. He said he always did this and didn't like typing into the address field.

I do not understand this. Google has a database of thousands upon thousands of references to almost anything you type in, much of it misleading if you know what you want. My friend was confused because it was offering him links that would have cost money if he'd clicked on them.

If I told you how to get to my house, would you then get out an atlas and look for all the possible routes via every country in the world? I don't think so, so why do people prefer to take a route via Google when they know the direct route?

I would really like some answers to this because it might help me present the website better. Even via Google.

Joe Thraveson-…

Tue, 15/09/2009 - 14:01

Interesting Colin, I think it boils down to familiarity, people know google, or think that they do, and so they trust it. Also of course the google box in which you enter your search query is in the middle of the screen, so that is what is seen first.  I think that there is also another reason, people know that by entering a query into the google search engine they are not going to break their computer, they have done it many times before writing directly into the address bar might do that, so they think, and therefore go for the safe option.

 

Joe

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