Search Engine Usage Soared in 2009

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Search Engine Usage Soared in 2009
More than 131 billion searches were made by people age 15 or older in December 2009, marking a 46 percent increase from 2008, according to a report from Web analytics firm Comscore. That breaks down into 4 billion searches per day, 175 million per hour, and 29 million per minute.

"The global search market continues to grow at an extraordinary rate, with both highly developed and emerging markets contributing to the strong growth worldwide," said Jack Flanagan, Comscore executive vice president, in the report.

The U.S. represents the largest individual search market globally, accounting for 22.7 billion searches or nearly 17 percent of all global searches. China came in second with 13.3 billion searches and Japan was third with 9.2 billion. Russia showed the highest gains, moving up 92 percent to 3.3 billion searches.

Google tops the list of search engines as the most used. The Internet behemoth drug in 87.8 billion individual searches in December, accounting for two-thirds of all searches worldwide. Google's numbers also show a 58 percent increase from 2008. Yahoo pulled in second with 9.4 billion searches, but an underwhelming 14 percent increase in total searches from 2008.

Microsoft was fourth most popular worldwide with 4.1 billion searches, but showed the greatest gains with a shattering increase of 70 percent in 2009.

Are those numbers too good to be true, or could Microsoft actually start to close the massive market share gap between Bing and Google?

Comscore's report only took December of 2008 and 2009 into consideration and lobbed all Microsoft properties into one category. Much has happened between the data, and Bing's specific market share is showing slight, but steady drops.

Bing slipped from 9.57 percent share in the U.S. in October to 9.32 percent in November according to a report by Experian Hitwise, which was summarized in a PCWorld post by Sharon Gaudin. Another report shows Bing losing additional share in December when it dropped to 8.92 percent of U.S. while Google increased its market share by one-percent.

Undoubtedly the introduction of Bing did quite a bit for Microsoft in the past year. Its impressive features, clever and not-so-clever marketing campaigns and respect for privacy helped it bolster its popularity, but it has a long way to go if it plans on becoming the top dog.

Then again, becoming the default search engine for the iPhone wouldn't hurt Bing's numbers.

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