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One person, four screens?

Google on Wednesday released research showing that lives in the United States have gone multi-screen, with people bouncing between smartphones, tablets, computers and televisions.

Nine out of 10 people use a variety of screens, according to a Google report titled “The New Multi-screen World: Understanding Cross-Platform Consumer Behavior.”

Visitors look at laptops displayed at the Microsoft booth during the Computex 2011 computer fair at the TWTC Nangang exhibition hall in Taipei. Credit: REUTERS

The research showed that 77 percent of television viewers do so with another device in hand, often using tablets or smartphones for online searches inspired by what they see.

“How many times have you started reading an email on your phone while commuting, and then continued it on your laptop when you got home?” Gai Pham of Google mobile ads marketing asked rhetorically.

“Or perhaps you saw a commercial for a new car and then used your tablet to search for the specs and see it in action?” Pham continued.

“If these things sound familiar, that's because they're all part of the new norm in multi-screen behavior.”

Google cited the findings as evidence that advertisers would be wise to develop campaigns adapted to the trend of people shifting from one screen to another.

The findings resulted from research done in the second quarter of this year in the US cities of Austin, Texas; Boston, Massachusetts; and Los Angeles.

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