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Much has been said about Google’s controversial changes to its privacy policies, but new data is suggesting that even with these changes, Google remains the leading search engine in the US.

A new survey from the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that:

  • 83% of American internet users say they mostly use Google
  • 6% say they use Yahoo most often

All other search engines (including Bing) accounted for 6% , with another 5% of respondents claiming that they did not favor one search engine over the other.

While it shouldn’t be much of a surprise to see Google in the number 1 spot — it has after all been there for years — what is surprising is the way that it has cemented its position in the top spot. A 2004 Pew survey had  the number of respondents who used Google most often at 47% (Yahoo was at 26%!). This represents a massive increase.

The question now, however, is if searchers will be turned off by Google’s new privacy rules, which will pull personal information from Google Plus and use search history and user data to target advertising. According to the survey, close to 75% of respondents do not want their search engine of choice to tailor ads with personal info and data. Something has to give.

It’s important to remember, however, that at the end of the day, this is Google’s bread and butter. Their search engine is the heart of a system that generated $36.5 billion in revenue last year. It’s unlikely, therefore, that they will scale this back. It will be interesting to see if any backlash occurs, of it there is any room here for Google’s rivals to slither in.

The Pew Search Engine 2012 survey, by the way, interviewed 2,253 adults, of which 1,729 responded via the Internet. The results based on Internet users have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.