Google search share climbs

Extending its dominance in the search market, Google grew its share of queries in April at the expense of rivals Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL and

Google's US search query share in April grew to 61.6 per cent, up from 59.8 per cent in March, comScore announced Thursday. Google accomplished this although the number of search queries dropped 2 per cent overall in April to 10.58 billion, compared with March, comScore said.

So even with the overall monthly decline, Google managed to increase its search queries by 1 per cent, from 6.44 billion to 6.51 billion.

Meanwhile, the other four major search-engine players saw their queries and their market share drop in April, compared with March, not a great situation for them to be in, considering that search advertising accounts for about 41 per cent of US online advertising, according to the latest report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).

Yahoo's market share of queries dropped to 20.4 per cent, and its number of queries fell 6 per cent. Microsoft's market share shrunk to 9.1 per cent, while its queries fell 5 per cent. AOL, down to a 4.6 per cent share, saw its queries drop by 6 per cent., whose share slid to 4.3 per cent, had the biggest fall in queries percentage-wise with 9 per cent.

A desire to improve its position in search was a primary driver for Microsoft's now-abandoned acquisition bid for Yahoo. However, Microsoft is reportedly trying to strike a search deal with Yahoo, which is also in similar negotiations with Google. It's not clear whether Yahoo would be open to selling its search-advertising business outright or instead seek a deal to outsource part of it to Microsoft or Google.

Whatever happens, comScore's figures for April leave no doubt that Microsoft and Yahoo have resoundingly failed to slow down Google in search, and that Google remains well-positioned to use its search dominance to continue boosting its revenue and profits.

In a research note commenting on the comScore report, Citigroup analyst Mark Mahaney wrote: "As Google continues to take share, we continue to believe a deal between Yahoo and Microsoft would be necessary - though not sufficient - to compete effectively with Google."

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