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The latest research by comScore breaks out just how big search giant Google has become on a global basis, leaving would be competitors in the digital dust.
The results of the new search survey, released by tracking firm comScore this week, found that in August alone there were more than 61 billion individual searches worldwide.
The new monthly survey, called qSearch 2.0, goes beyond measuring searches performed through just the major search engines. Instead, it also includes data representing the top 50 worldwide Internet properties where search activity is observed.
"The study found that more than 750 million people age 15 and older or 95 percent of the worldwide Internet audience conducted 61 billion searches worldwide in August, an average of more than 80 searches per searcher," according to a statement released by comScore. (Because its the first time around for a new survey design, there is no previous survey data to compare it against.)
Even with the new criteria, which allows top retail sites like eBay and Amazon, as well as social networking sites such as MySpace, to be included in the survey, Google and related properties such as YouTube still came out on top as the origination point of 37 billion searches, followed by Yahoo in second place with 8.5 billion searches.
What's initially startling about the new survey, though, is that, unlike early surveys, Microsoft did not come in third. That ranking went to Chinese search engine Baidu, which was responsible for 3.3 billion searches compared to fourth-place Microsoft at 2.2 billion.
Meanwhile, Korean-held NHN Corporation's Naver search engine came in fifth with 2 billion searches. Interestingly, eBay came in sixth with 1.3 billion searches.
The difference for Microsoft appears to be due to the expansion of the definition of what qualifies as a search engine. Still, it's not great news for Microsoft.
"That's got to be disappointing for them," Andrew Frank, research vice president in the media group at Gartner, told InternetNews.com. But Microsoft's position is not what Frank thinks is most significant about the rankings.
"Baidu's [ranking is] interesting because it's an indication of how big China is," he said. "It shows that China is an untapped market in terms of the numbers of people one can reach via the Internet."
Indeed, the August numbers do appear to reflect that. Of the total of 754 million searchers, 258 million of them were in the Asia/Pacific region, according to comScore.
Additionally, however, the survey also clearly shows how large Google's global search share really is, Frank added.
Doing the math, of the more than 61 billion searches carried out globally in August, Google's search properties handled some 61 percent of them. Yahoo garnered 14 percent, while Baidu processed 5.4 percent. Microsoft's share of the global pie was a mere 3.6 percent.
Microsoft late but still a player?
Part of that has to do with Microsoft's late entry into global search markets. And while it may be trailing now, the software giant has the resources and determination to be more competitive.
"Microsoft is continuing to innovate in search, getting the basics right, and cracking the code to more deeply engaging its customers across the network. We believe the recent improvements to Live Search will help close the gap with our competitors, a Microsoft spokesperson told InternetNews.com in an e-mailed statement.
In fact, Microsoft officials last month told press, analysts, and advertisers attending its "Searchification" event at its Silicon Valley campus, that it is concentrating on improving search for its existing users.
At the event, search team manager Brad Goldberg said the company plans to concentrate not on taking market share away from Google or Yahoo, but to grow its share by convincing existing Live Search users to spend more time with the engine.
To that end, Microsoft announced at Searchification the release of a new version of its Windows Live Search engine and said from now on it will release major updates to it every six months.
Perhaps a little ironically, last December, Microsoft and Baidu also announced a business alliance around search that pays Microsoft for showing Baidu paid advertising on its search results.
"As a result of this strategic alliance, Microsoft will display Baidu's paid search listings on the search results pages of certain Microsoft websites, including MSN, Live, and other partner websites in China," the companies said in a joint statement at the time.
This article was first published on InternetNews.com.