Hitwise: Google grew U.S. search lead in May

The widening of Google's lead comes at the expense of rivals Yahoo and Microsoft

Google accomplished a notable feat in May, according to Web usage measurement company Hitwise: It grew its already dominant share of search queries in the U.S.

Google handled 72.2 percent of all Web searches, up from 71.4 percent in April, while Yahoo's second-place position became a bit more distant, as its share fell from 15 percent in April to 14.4 percent in May, Hitwise said Monday. Microsoft, in third place, also saw its share fall, dropping from 9.4 percent to 9.2 percent.

Yahoo and Microsoft are in the process of implementing their search partnership, in which they will collaborate both in search technology and advertising services, hoping to put up more credible competition to Google. That partnership, which in part calls for Yahoo to rely on Microsoft's Bing engine for crawling, indexing and ranking, will be fully implemented by mid-2012 globally.

The stakes keep rising for providers of search services and advertising. Internet search ads typically account for about 40 percent of all online ad spending, making the search ad format the biggest revenue generator, followed by display ads, like banners. According to a recent IDC study, marketers in the U.S. will increase their spending in search ads from US$13.5 billion last year to $27.3 billion in 2014.

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