Google Expands Lead in Search Race

NEW YORK Google continues to widen the gap between it and all other competitors in the search race, while rival Microsoft has actually lost search users over the past year despite paying people to use its services, according to the latest figures issued by Nielsen Online.

In November 2008 Google commanded 64.1 percent of all searches conducted on the Web in the U.S., found Nielsen, up more than 6 percentage points compared to the 57.7 percent share Google held one year earlier. In fact, Google handled over 900,000 more search queries during the month of November than the previous year (4.3 million in November ‘07 versus 5.2 million in November ‘08).

Meanwhile, Microsoft actually handled over 147,000 fewer queries last November versus the same month in 2007, and as a result its market share slipped from 12 percent to 9.1 percent, per Nielsen. That decline is noteworthy as it occurred during the start of the holiday shopping season, when Microsoft’s shopping-friendly search product would seemingly harbor an advantage.

Back in May 2008, Microsoft rolled out its cash back from Live Search push, which offers consumers cash savings from select Web retailers when they elect to use the company’s search tools in conjunction with shopping online.

Second place in the search race continues to go to Yahoo, which saw its search share slip nearly two percentage points to 16.1 percent, as the portal handled nearly the same total number of searches in November 2008 as it did one year prior — just as the overall category grew.

Adweek is a unit of the Nielsen Co.