Google's Search Lead Widens, comScore Finds

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A new comScore report shows that Google has cemented its position as leader in the search market. This provided some good news for the search company after an abrupt dip in its stock price earlier this week.

Google leads the search market with 41.4 percent of all searches submitted in January 2006, according to research firm comScore, up more than 6 share points from January 2005. Google's closest competitor, Yahoo, had 28.7 percent of searches, down 3.1 share points from January 2005. MSN ranked third with 13.7 percent.

Google sites also captured 49.5 percent of all toolbar searches while Yahoo sites took 45.5 percent.

The report indicated that U.S. search market growth is slowing. Americans undertook 5.48 billion searches in January, up 11 percent from the year-ago period. This growth is down from the 42 percent seen from January 2004 to January 2005.

However, search used for advertising purposes is growing, comScore CEO Magid Abraham said. In December, 57.2 percent of search query results included a sponsored ad, up from 49.1 percent the previous year.

The declining growth mirrors comments made by Google chief financial officer George Reyes on Tuesday. Speaking at a Merrill Lynch Advertising, Information & Education conference, he warned that the company will find it hard to maintain its current growth rate into the future. Immediately afterward, Google's stock plunged 13 percent and closed Tuesday at $362.62, down 7.1 percent. The stock was trading at just over $363 yesterday.

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