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Net search claims solid No. 2 spot

NEW YORK -- The number of people who use Internet search engines to find information has jumped over the last year, claiming a solid number two spot behind e-mail among online tasks, a new study finds.

Of the 94 million American adults who went online on a given autumn day this year, 63 percent used a search engine, compared with 56 percent in June 2004, the Pew Internet and American Life Project said yesterday.

Until recently, search and news have been running neck-and-neck for the number two spot among Internet tasks, said Lee Rainie, the project's director. But search had a dramatic jump over the past year to widen the gap over news, used by 46 percent of the Internet's daily population.

Use of search engines was higher among users who are richer and better educated, as well as those with high-speed broadband connections that are continuously on.

E-mail remains the most popular application, used by 77 percent of the daily sampled population.

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