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Windows Live Search: Where Have All the Users Gone?

Three Net tracking firms have released their October figures for search engine popularity and they all show Microsoft continuing to lose ground with users while Google continues to gain, according to SearchEngineWatch.com.

Tracker comScore found that Google held a 45.4 percent share in October, while Nielsen’s NetRatings clocked the big G at 49.6 percent. A third tracker, Hitwise, gave Google a much larger share -- 60.9 percent.

In comparison, comScore gave Microsoft’s Windows Live Search an 11.7 percent share versus 8.8 for NetRatings. Hitwise ranked Live Search at 10.6 percent.

But Microsoft isn’t in a far second place. It’s running in a far third place, well behind Yahoo’s search engine, which garnered a 28.2 percent share from comScore, 23.9 percent from NetRatings, and 22.3 percent from Hitwise. Search engines from AOL and Ask bring up the rear with numbers that range between 6.2 and .5 percent.

Significantly, however, while Google gains and Yahoo holds steady, Microsoft continues to show incremental decline. Nielsen NetRatings found that Microsoft’s share of searches fell 8 percent from a year ago, while Google surged a respectable 23 percent and Yahoo jumped 30 percent.

In fact, on the NetRatings charts, Microsoft was the only search engine that lost market share in the past 12 months. Google’s nearly 50 percent share in October 2006 totaled an estimated 3 billion searches, NetRatings said in its analysis.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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