Using Google to search the internet is good for the brain and can slow or even reverse age-related conditions such as dementia, according to scientists.
They found older people who have never used the internet before boosted their brain power just a week after going online.
The scientists from UCLA in Los Angeles found simple internet searches triggered key centres in the brain, which control decision-making and complex reasoning.
As the brain ages a number of structural and functional changes occur, which can impact how we process thoughts.
Research has shown that mental stimulation may affect the efficiency of this cognitive processing and alter the way the brain encodes new information.
Traditionally, these include games such as crossword puzzles, but with the advent of technology, scientists are beginning to assess the influence of computer use - including the internet.
Study author Dr Gary Small from UCLA, said: 'We found that for older people with minimal experience, performing internet searches for even a relatively short period of time can change brain activity patterns and enhance function.
'The study results are encouraging that emerging computerised technologies may have physiological effects and potential benefits for middle-aged and older adults.
'Internet searching engages complicated brain activity, which may help exercise and improve brain function.
'A simple, everyday task like searching the web appears to enhance brain circuitry in older adults, demonstrating that our brains are sensitive and can continue to learn as we grow older.
'With more time on the internet, they may demonstrate the same brain activation patterns as the more experienced group.'
The UCLA team worked with 24 volunteers aged between 55 and 78.