Google further solidified its position as the top preferred search engine in the U.S. in August while Microsoft and Yahoo slipped.

Google was used 63 per cent of the time in August, compared to 61.9 percent in July, according to figures released Friday by comScore, which tracks online trends.

Yahoo came in second in August at 19.6 percent, down 0.9 per cent from July. Microsoft garnered 8.3 per cent of traffic in August, down 0.6 per cent from a month prior.

ComScore’s data was drawn from 11.7 billion total searches. It includes searches done on other Web sites employing certain search engines but does not include mapping, local directory and user-generated video sites, which are measured separately.

The slipping market share of Yahoo and Microsoft doesn’t speak well for their efforts to invigorate their online services and brands.

Microsoft’s efforts to acquire Yahoo earlier this year were due in part to its struggle in trying to catch up with Google and belief that Yahoo would bring it valuable engineering resources.

The two companies appear to have ceded ground to even more distant competitors in the search market. The Ask Network increased its share of searches to 4.8 per cent in August from 4.3 per cent a month before. Also, AOL — which has undertaken a revamp of its portal while also building an online advertising business — moved up slightly, from a 4.2 per cent share in July to 4.3 per cent in August.

In separate statistics, comScore drills down into where searches are performed within a company’s services, giving an indication of how popular certain offerings are.

For Microsoft, the news again isn’t good. Searches on its MSN portal and Windows Live, an opening page that acts as a gateway to blogging and e-mail services and includes search, were down 7 per cent between July and August.

Other notable statistics were a 3 percent rise in queries on Google’s YouTube video service and a 9 per cent increase in searches on MySpace, the social-networking site owned by Fox Interactive Media. Facebook saw an 8 per cent rise in searches, according to comScore.

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