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The Internet's strength--limitless content--can also be its most maddening quality for a user trying to pinpoint information. The most popular sites often resonate with their audience because they provide a means of navigation through the Web's seemingly boundless sea of data.
Recently, EE Times asked me to poll my colleagues at Portelligent and Semiconductor Insights (both owned by EE Times parent TechInsights) to discover the sites most frequently visited by their staffs of engineers and other tech specialists. Roughly 250 staffers at Portelligent and SI locations in Canada, Japan, Poland and the United States were surveyed.
One intriguing finding was that some of the respondents' favorite sites are also some of the most popular among Internet users in general.
A case in point is Google, which was mentioned repeatedly by those surveyed, and rightly so. Google revolutionized the way people searched for content and created a whole industry around search engine optimization.
Another favorite among engineers as well as the Internet user population at large is Wikipedia. It wasn't the first site to be based around user-generated content, but it won followers because of its ease and freedom of use, as well as a method of checks and balances to ensure reliable content. At aggregator sites like Digg, Stumble and Slashdot, meanwhile, users clue in other users about sites that are worth a visit.
Engineers know the Internet's massive ball of content becomes denser as it expands. Thus their favorite sites include those that help them find what they need quickly, with little effort, or that offer a one-stop home for information.