Google retained its commanding lead of the U.S. search engine market in June, when it handled almost half of all queries, leaving competitors such as Yahoo and Microsoft to fight for the remaining usage share, Nielsen/NetRatings said Friday.
Google processed almost 2.67 billion queries, or 49.4 percent of June's total, while Yahoo followed in a distant second place with 1.24 billion, for a 23 percent market share.
Microsoft's MSN unit (10.3 percent), Time Warner Inc.'s AOL LLC (6.9 percent) and IAC/InterActiveCorp's Ask.com (2.3 percent) rounded out the top five.
In terms of usage growth, Ask.com led the pack with 66 percent more queries than in June 2005, followed by Google (31 percent) and Yahoo (29 percent.) MSN and AOL had growth below 4 percent each.
Online ads delivered along with search engine results have become a multibillion dollar market in recent years, almost single-handedly fueling Google's impressive revenue growth and stratospheric stock price.
Drawn by the revenue opportunity, Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL and Ask.com have all invested heavily in their search engine services and search-based ad offerings.