An interesting post (click here to read) on the TechCrunch blog. The full post looks at how various Google services have been used, comparing November 2006 usage with November 2007 usage. Google Scholar has dropped 32%, which is a significant number.

Google launched Scholar towards the end of 2004 and has changed little in that time. I use it occasionally but only as a last resort. I find the link-outs to various publishers sites confusing and painful. In the normal Google I search, click and get the result. In Scholar, I find, click, have to decide which publisher site to go to, they then try and flog you the full-text, you then get to the abstract. I think that indicates how spoilt I am!

What next for Scholar? I imagine Dean (at the UBC Academic Search – Google Scholar Blog) has much greater insight into this sort of thing. But if it was my business/project you’d sit up with figures like this. The figures show that people aren’t using it (or are moving away) and therefore there are two options:

  1. Leave it as it is and let it die
  2. Intervene, pump in some resources, figure out why people are switching off and improve.

I’d prefer 2. but it’s not as though they make any money out of Scholar and also they have dropped projects in the past.

Hopefully, we’ll see the November 2008 figures…