Home What Real People Use on the Web

What Real People Use on the Web

Read/WriteWeb’s Web 2.0 Summit coverage sponsored by Yahoo!

At last year’s Web 2.0 Conference, a much discussed panel was one featuring a
group of teenagers telling everyone what Web products they use. This year the
concept has been take an extra level, by inviting the parents of the
teenagers as well. The panel was moderated by Safa Rashtchy.

Most of the panel has Google as their main search engine. One adult panelist
uses Ask.com, because she can put questions into the search box. One (adult)
panelist says she uses Google out of habit. Another adult panelist uses Yahoo
for the maps and other information. One of the teenagers says she uses Google
because her school wants her to. Most of the panelists did not know MSN had a
search engine.

In regards to online video, one adult panelist said she spends 3-4 hours per
week on YouTube. A teenager spends 2-3 hours a day at the library with his
friends watching YouTube. One teenager says he uses Google Video. Another says
she uses some download software (Shakespeare something??). Safa asks would any
of them pay $1 to watch video, e.g. Lost. The majority opinion is no. As for
free but with videos, one teenager says she would and in fact it’s better than

Website recognition

Safa rattles off some names of websites:

  • Skype – just two people know what it is and use it, both for international
    calls. One says “it rarely works” in terms of sound quality.
  • craigslist – yes
  • yelp – no
  • judyslist – no
  • blogs – yes, about half read them read them; a couple mentioned reading
    them on myspace, but also for their interests/hobbies

Re uploading, most have done this. One adult panelist says pictures.

Internet Companies

Safa now asks about companies:

  • Yahoo: most of the adult panelists use them – e.g. for horoscopes. a lot
    of them use Yahoo Mail (a few use Gmail); one teenager thinks Yahoo is
    “silly”, as in entertaining. One adult panelist says she likes
    Yahoo for things like games and emails, and scans the news.
  • Google: one teenager “seems more like a friend” and he also uses
    Gmail because it’s easy and user-friendly; another says he uses Google Video
    and he likes Google; all the teenagers would trust Google over Yahoo!
  • MSN: nobody has much to say about it; one teenager says he likes Xbox; one
    says they like the little (cartoon) characters. Word was mentioned.
  • eBay: some of them use it, e.g. for concert tickets, books etc.
  • Amazon: a few people, one says for “mostly media type things”
    like books, CDs.

Instant Messaging

One teenager uses AOL “all day” to talk to his friends. Same for
another teenage boy. Three most mentioned by teenagers were AIM, MSN and Yahoo.
One says 2-3 hours per day.


One teenager compares MySpace to xmas presents, because he sees something new
or a new friend every day – he spends around 3 hours per day. Another says 2-3
hours per day – “making sure my profile’s good”. One mother signed up
to monitor what her child was doing – she found out her 14 year old son was 17
on MySpace.


Do they read paper books? Not much response, but one uses book summaries.

Issues? One says security and spam (she has been a victim of identity theft).

Browser choice: 3 teenagers say Firefox. Two say IE. Of the adults, 3 say IE,
one says Opera, one Firefox.

Cellphone use? The adults use them for text and talk; they all seem to use
email on a cellphone. One notes she has a sidekick.

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