Search driving 80 percent of Google traffic

Most visitors to Google sites go to the Web site search engine, despite the company's wide variety of online services.

Google's development of new search and online services over the past several years has garnered much attention, but most of the company's traffic is generated by its oldest and flagship site, according to market researcher Hitwise.

The company's search site,, gets almost 80 percent of all the visits, leaving no doubt that it remains the motor that powers the company's business, despite Google's growing assortment of online services.

Google is the top rated search engine according to NetRatings. The Internet research firm estimates there were nearly 3 billion Google searches in March 2006.

Google's image search engine draws 9.5 percent of the visits, followed by Gmail with 5.5 percent and Google News with 1.49 percent, according to a blog posting by Bill Tancer, Hitwise's general research manager. (

All other Google sites, including the critically-acclaimed Google Maps and the comparison-shopping engine Froogle, receive less than 1 percent of visits, he wrote.

The situation is much different at Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft's MSN, both of which are Web portals which in recent years have significantly invested on their search engines.

Most visits to Yahoo sites are to Yahoo Mail with 33 percent, followed by the home page (32 percent), while Yahoo Search gets only 9.8 percent, according to Tancer. Something similar happens at MSN, where Hotmail gets the most visits (41 percent), followed by the home page (33 percent), with MSN Search a distant third with 16 percent.