When searching, do you find what you are looking for? graph of japanese statisticsGoogle rightfully beats Yahoo! hands down for English language search, but I never seem to have too much luck with Google and Japanese. I stay away from Yahoo! Japan as I find the design extremely ugly, but this doesn’t seem to be a factor with the natives according to a survey reported on by japan.internet.com and conducted by JR Tokai Express Research Inc into information gathering through search portal sites.


Between the 31st of January and the 3rd of February 2008 330 members of the JR Tokai Express Research monitor group employed in either public or private industry completed an internet-based questionnaire. 80.9% were male, 10.0% in their twenties, 40.0% in their thirties, 37.3% in their forties, 11.2% in their fifties, and 1.5% in their sixties.

One thing I’m not sure if Yahoo! Japan does, but it is something that Google definitely doesn’t, is to search alternative verb forms, so that if you put in the infinitive it also searches past tense, progressive, passive, and so one. That would be nice, but top of my wish list would be alternative kanji and kana alternatives for a word; for example, skin clinic could appear as 皮膚科, 皮フ科, ひふ科 or even ヒフ科, so it would be nice if I typed in just one form and the search engine matched all the variants.

Research results

First, from the sample 316 people, or 95.8%, used search portal sites.

Q1: Which search portal do you use the most? (Sample size=316)

Yahoo! Japan 50.0%
Google 42.7%
MSN (Live Search) 3.2%
goo 1.9%
Infoseek 1.9%
Ask.jp 0.0%
livedoor 0.0%
Other 0.3%
Don’t know 0.0%

Q2: When searching, about how often do you find what you are looking for? (Sample size=316)

Find it every time 18.0%
Find it most of the time 77.5%
Find it some of the time 4.4%
Never find it 0.0%

Q3: When searching, which ones of the following search functions do you think are useful? (Sample size=316, multiple answer)

&nbps; Votes Percentage
AND 234 74.1%
OR 97 30.7%
Keyword exclusion, – operator 71 22.5%
Site search 53 16.8%
Exact match, + operator 41 13.0%
Phrase search, quoted search 38 12.0%
URL search 23 7.3%
None in particular 32 10.1%
Don’t know 5 1.6%
Other 6 1.9%


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