Google takes a dip but still rules the waves
Google remains far and away the world's most popular search engine despite seeing its market share decline in February.
According to new figures from ComScore, Google's global market share has slipped slightly of late, falling from 63.1 percent in January to 62.8 percent in February 2008.
However, while the search engine was used by fewer people in February, its market share has risen year-on-year. In February 2007, Google had 58.5 percent market share.
Yahoo, which is the world's second most popular search engine, saw its global market share fall from 12.2 percent in January to 11.9 percent in February.
Baidu.com, the search engine that's become increasingly popular in China, saw its market share slip by one percentage point to 4.5 percent over the month, while Microsoft's share remained flat at 3.1 percent.
In the US in February, Google Sites extended its share of searches to 59.2 percent, up from 58.5 percent the previous month. Yahoo Sites ranked second with 21.6 percent of searches, followed by Microsoft Sites (9.6 percent), AOL (4.9 percent), and Ask Network (4.6 percent).
Overall, Americans conducted 9.9 billion searches at the main search engines, representing a 6-percent decline versus January.
Given this, each of the five core search engines experienced search query declines, with Google Sites accounting for more than 5.8 billion core searches, followed by Yahoo Sites with 2.1 billion and Microsoft Sites with 953 million.
Staying with the US, a second ComScore report issued this week indicates that the country currently accounts for 21 percent of worldwide internet users, down from 66 percent in 1996.
The report reveals that there were nearly 184 million internet users in the US in January, up 5.7 percent from the almost 174 million recorded a year earlier.
Although the number of people going online has slowed greatly in the US of late, it's a different story elsewhere.
In Asia Pacific, a whopping 308 million users are now online, a 14 percent increase compared to January 2007 when an estimated 271 million had internet access.
There was also a rise in the number of internet users in Europe with almost 233 million online at the end of January, a 6.8 percent increase versus the 218 million in January 2007.
Latin America and the Middle East -- both of which have a low number of internet users -- recorded sharp rises in internet usage, with increases of 16.6 percent and 20.2 percent respectively.
According to ComScore, there are currently more than 824 million internet users online worldwide, a year-on-year rise of 10.4 percent.
The number of worldwide visitors to social networking sites has grown 34 percent in the past year to 530 million, representing approximately two out of every three internet users. MySpace and Facebook are in a tight battle for the global leadership position, each attracting more than 100 million visitors per month.