AI search tools are improving but they don’t match how we use search. [David Pierce /]

Search can be divided into three types, says Pierce: People primarily use search just to find websites.

… my favorite fact of all: … a vast number of people every year go to Google and type “google” into the search box.

People also use search for specific facts, such as who won last night’s big game.

And the third type is the “exploration query.”

These are questions that don’t have a single answer, that are instead the beginning of a learning process. On the most popular list, things like “how to tie a tie,” “why were chainsaws invented,” and “what is tiktok” count as explorational queries. If you ever Googled the name of a musician you just heard about, or have looked up things like “stuff to do in Helena Montana” or “NASA history,” you’re exploring.