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Social media replaces search engines as research tool

Once there was only one way to find out what restaurant to go to or which programme to watch on TV – you went to Google.

But now we want recommendations to come to us – and most browsers rely more on social media than search engines to do it, a survey shows.

Three quarters of people are picking online content via word of mouth or suggestions from Twitter and Facebook, according to a report by video search specialists blinkx.

The company’s Matt Scheybeler said: ‘We use search as a starting point less often and instead we’ve become comfortable scanning and processing long streams of information – Facebook pages and Twitter feeds – a content universe delivered to us by our friends and the people we follow, and increasingly we’re accessing that content through tablets and smartphones.’

The survey also showed 58 per cent of people now use portable devices to view content, while 35 per cent watch videos on desktop computers or TV.

And 42 per cent of those aged 18-24 now name videos as their favourite source of information and would rather watch their content on demand. It is predicted there will be 1.3billion online video viewers by 2016.

blinkx has launched two new features to help viewers sift through the mass of internet video content.

My Stream is a personalised TV channel based on preferences, while Pause and Pick Up means users can stop watching on one device and pick it up on a different gadget.