Google Search Domination Continues, but Bing, Yahoo Still Trailing

The total number of Web searches by U.S. users is down from a year ago, according to ComScore. However, Google still dominates the market, with Yahoo and Bing far behind.

Though Microsoft's search engine usage in the United States increased slightly by 0.01 percent since June, Google still dominates Web search with 66.8 percent of the U.S. market, according to the latest July 2012 figures from Web analytics firm ComScore.

The latest monthly ComScore qSearch search engine rankings for July continue to be led in the United States by Google, with Microsoft's Bing capturing 15.7 percent of users and Yahoo sites capturing 13 percent of users. They are trailed by Ask Network sites capturing 3.1 percent of users and AOL with 1.5 percent of the market, according to the figures. The numbers are for what ComScore calls explicit core searches, or those that exclude slide shows and contextual links in text.

The latest figures, which the firm released Aug. 15, are almost identical to the usage patterns from June, with the exceptions being that Microsoft search use increased from 15.6 percent in June, while Ask search increased by 0.01 percent in the same period.

About 17.7 billion overall searches were conducted in July by U.S. users, according to ComScore, which is an increase of 3 percent since June. Google search was used for 11.8 billion of those searches, an increase of 3 percent, while Microsoft search was used 2.8 billion times, for an increase of 4 percent. Yahoo search came in third with 2.3 billion searches, up 3 percent from June, while Ask Network was used for 548 million searches, an increase of 6 percent, and AOL was used in 264 million searches.

For Google, the latest search rankings show increased use compared to one year ago, when Google was the search engine selected by 65.1 percent of U.S. users, according to ComScore figures from July 2011.

Yahoo search usage is down today by 3.1 percentage points from July 2011, when it was at 16.1 percent, while Microsoft searches are up 1.3 percentage points from 14.4 percent a year ago. Ask searches are up by 0.2 percentage points from 2.9 percent of the market a year ago, while AOL searches remain unchanged with 1.5 percent

The total number of Web searches was down in July 2012, compared with a year ago, when Americans conducted 19.2 billion search queries, according to ComScore. Google led the search race at that time with 12.5 billion searches, followed by Yahoo with 3.4 billion searches and Microsoft with 2.6 billion.

Google has been facing serious regulatory pressure in the U.S., with the Federal Trade Commission launching a broad antitrust inquiry into the company's search practices last year, mirroring a European Commission.

Now, after months of ongoing negotiations, Google in late July appears to have agreed to the outlines of a settlement with the European Union to finally end that group's ongoing investigation into alleged anticompetitive behaviors by the search giant in the European marketplace.

Under the settlement, Google would not be hit with formal antitrust charges by the EU, according to reports.

The exact terms of a deal have not yet been announced publicly and the arrangement has not yet been finalized, but the main sticking points that have been raised in recent months-how to include mobile search services and Android-are being addressed. Negotiations for a settlement deal were in the works for some time. A key part of the settlement is that Google's Android technologies will be included so the deal can pass muster with the EU.