What do you do if you need information on a local restaurant, a plumber, whatâ€™s on at the cinema or what else that guy in the film youâ€™re watching was in? You go online of course. “Just Google it” is now a common response to virtually any question. We have access to so much up the minute news and information at our fingertips and it is all channelled through search engines. The internet is growing larger and faster than ever. More and more people are going online; more and more people are browsing for information online and, crucially, more people are buying online. But just how much power does the internet and its search engines hold over our daily lives? 1) The Internet Is Massive They say “everyone is online these days” and whilst that isnâ€™t true (only 1 in 3 are) the number is rising faster than it ever has before â€“ as is the size of the internet itself. â€˘ There were 2.28 billion internet users in March 2012 (32% of the worldâ€™s population) double the number there was 5 years previous â€˘ 53 million were from the UK â€“ thatâ€™s 85% of the population â€˘ There are at least 7.9 billion pages on the World Wide Web 2) People Use the Internet to Search Alongside email, typing words into a search box is the most common internet activity. With the level of data available to people at such speed and with such ease more and more people are turning to the net for their news, entertainment and social life. And they find most of it via a search engine. â€˘ 93% of online visits start with visiting a search engine. â€˘ The search engine industry is believed to be worth more than $16 billion â€“ four times its value back in 2004. â€˘ In March 2012 the total internet population spent 2.2 trillion minutes online viewing 3.5 trillion pages. â€˘ 92% of internet users use a Search Engine, more than any other internet activity. â€˘ There are over 4 million internet searches per minute 3) Google Owns Search There is a reason people say “Google it” and not “Yahoo it” or “Bing it”. Google owns search. Search engines are the gates to the internet and Google is the key master. â€˘ Two thirds of all global internet searches are done through Google â€˘ 91% of all searches in the UK used the Google search engine with 2.3bn UK searches being made in May 2012 â€˘ Google receives over 1 billion search queries each day 4) Search Drives Commerce People may complain that it is causing the death of the high street and traditional shops, but given how ecommerce has revolutionised the way we shop I can see why people may not be too keen to venture down the high street on a December weekend. The internet allows you to browse every conceivable product on the market from the comfort of your own home and have the products delivered to you (sometimes with no charge) in a matter of days â€“ and we love it! â€˘ The online shopper population will grow to 184.3 million in 2012. â€˘ Around 39% of customers for online businesses came from search engines. â€˘ 88.1% of US internet users over 14 will use the internet to browse or research products in 2012. â€˘ 13.5% of all purchases in the UK in 2010 was done over the internet with this figure expected to grow at a faster rate than the US and China.