By _Maria Seminerio_
While the average person now surfing the World Wide Web is a financially
stable young white man, that picture is changing, along with the concerns and
plans of Web users and programmers, according to a study by Georgia Institute
of Technology researchers released this week.
The survey, which was conducted last month, of 11,700 people who use and
write programs for the Web reveals that the number of women and minorities
going online is increasing, and indicates that Internet use is replacing TV
watching as a habitual entertainment source for some.
Almost all respondents--78.5 percent--said they were willing to reveal
demographic information about themselves online if they understood how the
information would be used. Six percent said they would not divulge information
about themselves online under any conditions.
The average age of the Web users surveyed was 33, and 31.5 percent of
respondents were women, up from 29.3 percent in a similar study conducted at
the school late last year. The average household income of respondents was
More than half the respondents said they use the Web primarily from home and
pay for their own access. More than 80 percent said they use it on a daily
basis and 36 percent surf the Web instead of watching TV.
Among programmers surveyed, Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Java programming language
is gaining in popularity, with 58.1 percent of respondents who identified
themselves as Web authors planning to use Java in the next year. These
respondents said platform independence is Java's primary advantage.
But Java was identified as "mainly aesthetic and adding no value at all" by
30 percent of the programmers surveyed. Another 15 percent said it "represents
a revolution that will fundamentally change the Web." The rest of programming
respondents described it as "mainly functional."
A majority--65 percent--said they would not be willing to pay for access to
U.S. respondents, who made up 73.4 percent of those surveyed, were likely to
be interested in politics, with 91.9 percent registered to vote and 72.5
percent saying they voted in the last presidential race.
More than 85 percent of users said they understand what kind of information
about themselves can be automatically recorded during a Web transaction.
Nearly 15 percent said they don't know what information can be logged during
online transactions. More than 45 percent said they believe a user's E-mail
address can be logged into--which is untrue.
This was the fifth such survey conducted by Georgia Tech.