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Google Search Share Rises To Its Highest Level

Nearly two-thirds of U.S. searches went through Google in March, according to a new survey.

Google's U.S. search market share continues to climb.

Some 64% of U.S. searches went through Google in March, according to data released on Wednesday by Internet metrics firm Hitwise, up from 58% in March 2006.

Yahoo, Microsoft, and saw 22%, 9%, and 3% of U.S. searches and each of the three posted a decline in search traffic from a year ago. The remaining 5% of searches went through 48 separate smaller search engines.

"Google's growth shows no signs of slowing," said Bill Tancer, general manager of global research at Hitwise, in a statement. "Despite capturing the majority of searches in the U.S., and in light of competitor's improvements, Google's market share of executed searches continues to grow, exceeding 10 percent growth year-over-year."

Perhaps more significantly, Hitwise's statistics show that the category-specific traffic Google is sending to other sites is growing at a faster rate than referrals from other search engines.

As Hitwise research director LeeAnn Prescott put it in a blog post, "[T]he Shopping & Classifieds category received 5.99% more upstream traffic from search engines from March 2006 to March 2007, [but] it received 14.24% more traffic from Google [during this period]. Thus, Google is growing faster as a source of traffic for sites in these categories than other search engines are."

That means Google is growing faster as a source of revenue for sites in these categories. To protect that revenue, online companies that depend on search may allocate more of their advertising budgets to Google, further separating Google from its search competitors.

Ask, Microsoft, and Yahoo, not to mention the other 48 search engines in the race, face an increasingly steep road.

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