Saturday, July 19, 2008

Is Google losing its edge?

Google Inc's share of the global Web search market dipped in February from January, even as its US share rose, Internet financial analysts said citing market research data.
Analysts view the monthly comScore search market data as an indicator on growth trends in Web search. Several recent monthly reports have sparked debate on Wall Street over whether the market is maturing, even though year-to-year growth rates remain high.
The volume of US searches done through Google dropped to 5.86 billion from 6.14 billion in February, and the worldwide volume of searches also declined, comScore said.
"We are continuing to see deceleration in growth in Web search," said Jefferies & Co analyst Youssef Squali. "Google's month-over-month 5 per cent decline is a little surprising, but all of the major Web search names were down."
The drop was partly due to February being two days shorter than January, a comScore spokesman said. However, several analysts said it may also reflect a maturing market. By contrast, searches rose 9 per cent in January over December.
Investors cull comScore's monthly search data for clues to growth trends in Google's core business of online advertising tied to such Web searches, and to watch if any rivals slow the Google juggernaut. ComScore released summary data on US search market trends, but worldwide data is only available to paid subscribers.
With search statistics becoming more unpredictable month to month, investors have begun to focus on how well Google is converting Web searches into ad viewership.

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