Google Widens Search Lead, Prepares to Make Search Even Faster

In March search giant Google grew yet again, taking the top position in U.S. searches with 63.7 percent of the search share. But this time, Google didn’t steal market share from all its competitors – it only stole from Yahoo, Ask.com, and AOL. Microsoft’s share actually grew last month. Of course, they didn’t grow by that much, but when you’re fighting Google, every step counts.

Meanwhile, Google continues to experiment with search technology in an effort to make searches faster because they know faster searches means more of them.

Google: Still Growing & Growing

According to new data from comScore, Google dominated the search market once again with a 63.7 percent share of the 14.3 billion U.S. searches in March, an increase of 0.4 percentage points over February. The number of searches increased as well – that 14.3 billion represents an increase of 9 percent from last month.

Usually, when Google gains, it’s at others’ expense. This past month, that was still the case, with one exception. Yahoo lost 0.1 percentage point to fall to 20.5 percent and Ask.com and AOL lost 0.3 and 0.2 percentage points respectively, making their minuscule market share that much smaller (Ask: 3.8%, AOL: 3.7%).

The one surprise from the data is that Microsoft’s search actually grew last month. They gained 0.1 percent in March, growing to 8.3 percent. In fact, they could even be called “the fastest growing” search property as searches on their sites grew 11 percent in March compared with Google’s ten percent and Yahoo’s 9 percent.

Google to Speed Up Search

Earlier this week on the Google Analytics blog, Brett Crosby explained Google would be making a small tweak as to how the referrer code is passed to a web site from Google after someone clicks a link in their search results. Alex Chitu, a Google watcher who runs the unofficial Google Operating System blog, figured out what this was all about. It related to a search experiment Google was running back in February that displayed an alternative Google interface that was coded completely in AJAX. Chitu believed the change in the referrer code was necessary to fix an unintended consequence of the experiment – it had essentially shut off referrer traffic.

Yesterday, Google spokesman Eitan Bencuya confirmed this was true, saying “we made this change so we can continue experimenting with different kinds of test results and not break links in the future.”

Although a change to AJAX technology would only make searches milliseconds faster, those milliseconds add up, allowing people to do more searches, faster. And that would let Google grow even more, eating up percentage points along the way.

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