For centuries we have traveled the earth seeking knowledge. But today, if you want or need to know anything, from the meaning of life to the location of the nearest Starbucks, those answers are just a click away.
But are there other mysteries hidden in that unassuming Internet search box? In his new book, "Click," Bill Tancer, who has spent years analyzing how 10 million Americans use the Internet, said he has learned a lot about who we are by examining what we search. (To read an excerpt of the book, CLICK HERE).
"It's an insight into ourselves that we haven't really had before," Tancer said.
So what are we thinking about in these dog days of summer? Mom? Baseball? Apple pie? Not exactly.
"On any given week about 10 or 11 percent of all Internet visits are going to porn sites," Tancer said.
Considering the massive amount of traffic on the Web, 10 percent is a lot of pornography. Adult entertainment endures as the number one destination on the Internet.
But who is logging on to these sites? As you might guess it is mostly male-dominated, but women do search for adult sites as well. The types of materials searched for within these sites changes when it is a man versus a woman.
"It is mostly male -- about 75, 78 percent on any given month or week," Tancer said. "When we look at the female component, we find that it's a much different usage pattern than males. They're looking at sites where people are creating -- creating texts, creating stories, erotic stories."
The men look at the pictures while women are reading the erotic literature.
There are also differences between who is searching on these sites and how they are searching these sites between the so-called red and blue states, Democrat versus Republican.
"Some of the blue states, the interest was more about directories of adult entertainers," Tancer said. "Like sites that listed directories of, of call girls or escorts."
Tancer said that in Republican-heavy red states, porn visitors shun paid escorts in favor of wife-swapping and X-rated matchmaking Web sites. But since access to these sites is expensive, where are people getting the money during these troubling economic times?
We don't know for certain how people are paying for these sites, but one theory that Tancer has come up with is that people used their economic stimulus checks in other ways than what they were intended for. Tancer found that the one group that has increased, of all the demographics, is the $30,000 to $60,000 per year household income group.
"That probably is the group that's got the most to gain from the tax stimulus package," he said. "And we've actually seen an increase in visits to adult entertainment sites just over the last two or three months."
So what does this all say about us as a nation? There are some simple things we can learn about us by looking at the consistent number one "how to" search -- how to tie a tie.
"It spikes during the summer months. We think that's because of weddings. A lot of people who don't usually wear ties are searching on how to tie a tie during June, for example," Tancer said.
And while Americans seem to have a year-long love affair with gambling, it changes based on the season.