Is Google Slipping?

Google may be king of search, but that crown appears to be developing some tarnish as of late — if recent reports on its market share can be trusted. Could Microsoft and Yahoo finally be in a position to unseat the search giant from its throne?

The market percentage points are almost fractional, but they can’t be denied. According Comscore’s figures, Google still holds a dominating lead of the search market, taking a 62.6 percent share in June. But that’s down more than full percentage point from May.

Who’s getting those searches? Microsoft and Yahoo are – in fact, together they gained slightly more than Google lost in market share in the same time period. Yahoo’s market share went up just over half a percent, to give them close to 19 percent of the search market, while Microsoft’s Bing went up the same amount. The software giant, which has been taking a beating in the search market, can now point to its nearly 13 percent share as a dramatic (if still far from dominating) sign of progress.

It’s worth noting that these new percentages come at a time when Americans are searching more than ever. We performed 16.4 billion searches in June, up three percent from May. That means that every search site actually saw more searches. Of all of the major sites, however, Microsoft’s Bing saw the greatest improvement in percentages. Microsoft sites received 2.1 billion searches in June, an increase of 8 percent over May, while Yahoo’s sites saw 3.1 billion searches in June, an increase of 7 percent. Taken together, that’s still just under half of the searches conducted on Google in June – 10.3 billion, an improvement of one percent over May.

What accounts for Microsoft’s and Yahoo’s relatively large improvement? Some observers have noted these search engines’ use of contextual search. For at least some users, this approach seems to deliver better, more relevant results – and web surfers are starting to take notice.

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