Google Keeps Growing While Facebook, Bing Plot

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Google improved its already dominant Internet search market share in September, capturing 66% of all searches, according to research unveiled just as Microsoft announced its new partnership between Facebook and its Bing search engine.

Google searches accounted for 65.4% of all U.S.-based searching in August 2010, and rose to 66.1% in September 2010, according to the research firm comScore.

Google vs. Bing vs. Yahoo

Google seems to have increased its share at the expense of Yahoo. While Google's share increased 0.7%, Yahoo's share decreased an identical 0.7%, from 17.4% to 16.7%.

Microsoft was in third place with 11.2% of searches, up from 11.1% in August.

Out of 16 billion "explicit core searches" – defined as "user engagement with a search service with the intent to retrieve search results" – 10.6 billion were conducted through Google.

Ask and AOL combined for about 6% of the search market.

In early September Google unveiled Instant Search, which lets users see results even before they finish typing a word. ComScore said it had to alter its measurement technique in order to account for the change, and prevent Google from artificially improving its market share.

"The page is dynamically updated as the user continues typing, which could potentially generate a large number of result pages that may or may not be of user interest," ComScore said. "Fortunately, the comScore panel provides visibility into all events that a user is conducting and all the HTTP calls associated with the user's actions."

Google's market share increase came just as Microsoft announced that it's teaming up with Facebook to make search more "social."

"When you search for something on Bing or in web results on Facebook (powered by Bing), you'll be able to see your friends' faces next to web pages they've liked. So, you can lean on friends to figure out the best websites for your search," Facebook official Bret Taylor wrote in a blog post.

Bing, of course, already powers Yahoo searches, making it the most serious competitor to Google in terms of providing back-end search technology.

Bing has enjoyed a fast rise, coming online only in June 2009, replacing the previous Microsoft service known as "Live Search."

Despite Bing's quick start, Google's market share has remained pretty steady. Google held 65% of the market in May 2009, whereas Yahoo held 20% and Microsoft held 8%, according to comScore. Bing's impact has therefore been more pronounced on Yahoo's market share than on Google's.

ComScore is not the only firm analyzing search share. According to Hitwise, Google did even better in September than comScore indicates. Hitwise numbers show Google increasing from 71.59% in August to 72.15% in September.

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This story, "Google Keeps Growing While Facebook, Bing Plot" was originally published by Network World.

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