Tuesday, May 29, 2007

April Searches Up 11% From 2006: comScore

April Searches Up 11% From 2006: comScore
by Tameka Kee, Tuesday, May 29, 2007 6:00 AM ET
AMERICANS CONDUCTED SOME 7.3 BILLION search queries in April, according to comScore--an 11% rise from the same month last year.

Users searched using Google almost half the time (49.7%), followed by Yahoo with 26.8%, and Microsoft with 10.3%. While Yahoo, Microsoft, Ask, and Time Warner all saw their search shares slip incrementally from March to April, Google's share rose 1.4%.

In the past month, industry speculation increased about Google's commitment to its mainstay search offering in light of the company's forays into various other online and offline projects. But that talk has been tempered by a number of recent enhancements--from universal search, to cross-language search, to personalized search--that aim to improve the search experience with regard to ease of use and relevancy.

But what about Yahoo and its Panama platform? Although in an earnings call earlier this year, Yahoo had forecast the new algorithm to deliver less of an ROI than initially expected, CEO Terry Semel mentioned that Panama did help the company "significantly increase its lead in search share in Yahoo Japan and Taiwan."

Perhaps content to attack search in the U.S. from another angle, Yahoo moved forward with its mobile offering, oneSearch, which allows users to get targeted, localized search results right in their phones. Yahoo claims to have added 1.5 million new users to its Yahoo Go mobile platform, presumably making it the leading mobile brand--and mobile search provider--in the country.

Microsoft remains a distant third with traditional search, although the company has launched a Live Search offering for Windows Mobile that incorporates category-based local searching, maps and traffic information.

Analysts are watching to see whether IAC's Ask, with its recently launched barrage of out-of-home and TV ads touting its new algorithm, can increase its share of search (from 5.1%) in the coming months. Addressing the Goldman Sachs Internet Conference last week, IAC Chairman and CEO Barry Diller said the campaign will ratchet up considerably in June and July.

Tameka Kee can be reached at tameka@mediapost.com

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