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A life changing experience


    July 18, 2007  

Millions of Canadians are Internet addicts who couldn't live without e-mail, and the
majority of us think Google has made our lives better.

God bless ya, Google.

That's according to the results of an Angus Reid Strategies poll released yesterday, and while some of the information could have been delivered by Captain Obvious and the Blatant Patrol -- e.g. the younger, richer and smarter you are, the more likely you are to rely on technology -- there are a few surprises secreted within.

The online poll asked roughly 1,000 adult Canadians questions like how often they check their e-mail, how often they use news websites and social networking sites, and whether they prefer to keep in touch with friends and family via the telephone or the Internet.

The venerable, indispensable Google was singled out as the site that most of us rely on, with 52% of those surveyed saying the search engine and its suite of ancillary features makes their lives better.

The same percentage of Canucks said the Internet as a whole is a "must-have," with e- mail as our single biggest Net addiction (although the Angus Reid people didn't quiz respondents on, ahem, adult-oriented websites). Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed said they check e-mail at least once a day, and 31% said they check it at least once an hour.

Is it any wonder campgrounds are offering wireless Internet access now? Heaven forbid our umbilical cord to the Net ever be severed.

"My first impression when I read the results was, 'Well, the sky is still blue,'" said Kevin Restivo, an analyst with technology consulting firm SeaBoard Group. "People are still dying, we're still paying taxes."

Still, it's a little surprising to note that e-mail is now the preferred form of communication among friends (30%, versus 24% for regular phone calls and 9% for cellphone calls), yet landline phone calls are by far the most popular method of keeping touch with family (40%, versus 18% for e-mail and 10% for cellphones.) Apparently mom likes it better when she can scold you verbally.

But like robot maids and flying cars, the promise of always-on connectivity leading to a life of leisure has yet to come to fruition. Instead, it just makes it easier for our bosses to find us.


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