I’ve put this in my own words, but the back-up for it comes from a speech that Udi Manber, Google's VP of Engineering, gave recently. You can see more about the speech here thanks to Sean www.readwriteweb.com/archives/udi_manber_search_is_a_hard... but I also must thank Dan Calladine for first pointing me to it via Steve Johnson’s blog www.johnston.co.uk/2007_06_01_blog-archive.html#774266233...
Like the others, I too would have guessed the proportion of brand-new-to-google searches each day would have been lower. What I take from it is that people must be becoming far more sophisticated in the way they search. If most searches were for just one or two words, over all the years google has been going worldwide, it surely must have encountered most searches at least once before. But, as soon as searching behaviour gets more sophisticated - eg: searching for phrases, lots of keywords, using the advanced options to limit by format/region, etc, then suddenly the variety in searches would skyrocket.
Steven also makes the point that “Google is tapped into our collective consciousness”. This I agree with - although it’s not only down to the number of new searches. Even if only 1% were new, Google - and other search engines too - would still be tapped in simply ‘cos they know what people are interested in at any given point and how it’s evolving (at least for so long as they hold basic aggregated data about search patterns). It’s the whole “database of intentions” concept which I find so fascinating and first came across thanks to John Battelle battellemedia.com/archives/000063.php
Photo via FlickrCC thanks to Ken Douglas www.flickr.com/photos/good_day/73584429/