Google rises, Yahoo drops in U.S. search market

Microsoft's Bing holds steady as Google moves back over 65% market share

After slipping to a two-year low in August, Google inched back up in the U.S. search market.

In August, Google had dropped to 64.8%, which was the first time in two years the search engine had dipped below 65% of the market. However, Google was back above that benchmark in September, grabbing 65.3% of U.S. searches, according to a report out today from comScore, an Internet tracking company.

And Google might have grabbed some of that extra market share from rival Yahoo, which dropped from 16.3% in August to 15.5% in September. Microsoft's Bing remained in third place, staying steady month-to-month at 14.7%, comScore said.

However, while staying above 65% is a benchmark for Google, it's insignificant in the actual market, according to Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research.

"Google didn't drop down much below the 65% mark," noted Kerravala. "It's only about half a percentage point. I don't see that as significant. And, frankly, anything over 50% is dominant share.... That half a percent drop was just noise."

Google and Bing have been battling since Bing arrived on the search scene about a year and a half ago. The competition has pushed each search service to develop new features, such as Google's new image and voice search tools, and real-time search from both services.

Despite Bing's push, Google has held its market dominance. And that's a spot that will be difficult for Bing to take over, according to Kerravala.

"I see Bing doing a lot of advertising now and that has raised the awareness of it. People do like to try something new," he added. "But Google is flat out the fastest and most accurate search engine today. Bing will need to do something completely new with search to gain ground. And Google will need to slip up. Both of those seem unlikely."

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

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