Google Inc. led the pack with 45.9 percent of all searches, followed by Yahoo Inc., 23.2 percent; and Microsoft Corp.'s MSN, 11 percent, according to Nielsen/NetRatings. MSN lost some market share from July, when it had 12.2 percent. Google and Yahoo gained 1.2 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.
In total, people conducted more than 5 billion searches across 65 search engines in August, a 10 percent increase over July, the researcher said. In addition, the average Web searcher conducted nearly 42 searches, a 7 percent increase from the previous month.
Rounding out the top five search engines were America Online Inc., a unit of Time Warner Inc., 8 percernt; and Ask Jeeves, which is owned by IAC/InterActiveCorp, 2.1 percent. In July, the percentages were 8.4 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively.
Nielsen's figures differed considerably from rival ComScore Networks. The latter firm reported this month that Google accounted for 37.3 percent of all online searches in August, followed by Yahoo, 29.7 percent; MSN, 15.8 percent; Time Warner Network, 9.6 percent; and Ask Jeeves, 6 percent.
ComScore also pegged the overall number of searches at 5 billion in August.