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Google Search Growth Outstrips Yahoo, MS

Google's cash cow search engine -- Google Search -- continued to pull ahead of all competitors in usage growth in the U.S. during January, and managed a whopping 40.6 percent year over year growth rate, according to two recent surveys.

Use of Google sites grew to 47.5 percent of all U.S. searches in January, up from 47.3 in December, ComScore Networks reported in late February. Its closest competitor, Yahoo, fell slightly from 28.5 to 28.1 percent market share.

In contrast, Microsoft search sites only accounted for 10.6 percent of U.S. searches in January, although that was up from 10.5 percent in December.

Those results are generally cross-verified by Nielsen NetRatings' U.S. search numbers for January, just released yesterday. In those rankings, Google Search accounted for 53.7 percent of all U.S. searches in the month. That's a whopping 3.86 billion searches, and represents a 40.6 percent year-over-year surge in growth.

By comparison, third-place Microsoft accounted for only 8.9 percent of U.S. searches in January with a growth rate over last year of only 2.5 percent -- which tallies up to just 642.7 million searches.

The figures come after a year of Microsoft's marketing push to popularize its search engine technologies.

But despite typical brash proclamations of success from CEO Steve Ballmer last spring, the latest numbers seem to indicate that Microsoft's search initiative is still struggling and is far from assured of market dominance.

Growth still appears sluggish for Microsoft, despite the company's introduction of its highly touted Live Search engine in September.

As with ComScore, Yahoo also came in second in NetRatings' survey with 22.7 percent market share and a growth rate of 28.8 percent over the same month last year -- Yahoo accounted for nearly 1.63 billion searches in January.

In NetRatings' survey, AOL's search engine is the next closest with a 5.4 percent share (389 million searches). It grew by 5.6 percent.

Microsoft this week also purchased specialized search firm Medstory, with the declared intent to use its artificial intelligence technologies to enhance Microsoft search capabilities.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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