Making information easier to access is making a significant difference to people’s lives. We found through our research that users save at least X hours a year from Search compared with other methods of finding information because it is faster and easier to access. If you included the time saved by applying the new information from Google – trying out a new recipe, or learning a new skill – the time saved would be still greater.
In 23 hours or less you can:
As well as saving time, this information is creating significant value for ordinary [Germans]. Because Google Search is funded through an advertising supported business model, it is provided free at the point of use to consumers – making it hard to apply standard valuation techniques, such as looking at the price people pay. Just because a good is provided at zero cost, does not mean it has zero value.
In order to better to understand the value of Google, we produced a new estimate of “consumer surplus” of Google Search – the amount you would have to pay people to compensate them for losing access to it. – Our studies found this to be equivalent to £x per person or £y across the economy.
£126 – the amount that Google Search is worth to consumers – is:
Crucially, our estimates found that this consumer surplus is significantly higher than for other consumer products. Indeed, when we asked people which consumer goods they would least like to give up, we found that [Germans] would rather give upthan lose access to Search.
Together, this evidence suggests the argument that traditional statistics like GDP might be doing a poor job of measuring the value created by the Internet. Other studies have found that if you included the value of free internet studies within GDP, it would increase GDP by X%.