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Google Retains Search Lead; MSN, Yahoo Grow

The Internet giant captured more than 72% of the market, new data shows.
Google has held its lead in search, while MSN and Yahoo increased search traffic in December.

Google accounted for 72.07% of all U.S. searches last month, while Yahoo accounted for 17.79% of all U.S. searches and MSN took 5.56% of the share, according to figures released by Hitwise Monday. Ask.com accounted for 3.15% of U.S. searches in December, while 44 other search engines, together, accounted for just 1.42%.

MSN increased its share by 2% in the four weeks ending Dec. 27 compared with the four weeks ending Nov. 29, marking its fifth consecutive month of growth, according to figures from Hitwise. Yahoo grew its share by 1% from November to December, according to a sample of 10 million U.S. Internet users.

For all of 2008, Google accounted for 69.48% of all U.S. searches. That's up 8% from 2007. A comparison of December 2007 to December 2008 is even more impressive, with Google growing 14% year over year.

Ask.com grew 1% from 2007 to 2008, according to Hitwise.

Hitwise reported that search engines continue to dominate as key navigation tools Internet users rely on for information in key industry categories, such as business and finance, sports, online video, and social networking. Hitwise found that the share of traffic that search engines drove to those categories increased from December 2007 to December 2008 by double-digit figures.

More than 44% of health and medical traffic came directly from search engines, while over 36% of travel-related hits came from search engines in December 2008. Almost 34% of the online video traffic came from search engines came from search engines.

Shopping and classifieds Web sites saw nearly 26% of their traffic directly from search engines, while news and media gained over 20% of its traffic from search engines.