Uses of Internet change little over time–with one exception

People use the Internet pretty much the same way they did a decade ago–with the exception of social networking sites, which have grown vastly in popularity in recent years, a new report from the Pew Internet Project says.

Search and email remain the most popular activities, with 92 percent of adult Internet users saying they use the Web for each. In 2002, 86 percent said they use the Internet for searches and 93 percent said they use email.

Shopping and information were in the next tier, with 76 percent saying they get news online (up from 68 percent in 2002) and 71 percent saying they buy products online (up from 61 percent).

The big change was in the use of social network sites. Only 11 percent of adult Internet users said the use the Web for that purpose in 2005, when Pew first asked the question; 65 percent said they were on a social site in the most recent survey.