By Sarah Perez
ComScore has released its search data for February 2012, and Google (GOOG) continues to lead, gaining 0.2 percentage points over the previous month, up to 66.4% in February from 66.2% in January. Microsoft (MSFT) sites, which includes its Bing search engine, also continued to hold second place, up just 0.1 percentage points to reach a 15.3% share. Yahoo (YHOO), meanwhile, dropped 0.3 points to 13.8%, down from 14.1% in January.
None of the numbers are all that remarkable, which, when you think about the changes Google recently introduced to its core product involving the fusion of social and search, is actually somewhat remarkable.
Trailing the three search leaders were Ask Network at 3.0% and AOL, Inc. (AOL) (disclosure: TechCrunch is owned by AOL) with 1.5% of the market.
In terms of explicit search queries, the rankings remained the same, with Google at 11.7 billion queries, followed by Microsoft at 2.7 billion and Yahoo sites with 2.4 billion. However, all three were down by 1% in terms of queries from January. Ask Network, with 535 million queries was up by 2% in the same time frame and AOL with 266 million queries was down 4%.
In “Powered by” searches in February, Google gained, going from 68.4% in January to 68.6% last month. Microsoft’s “powered by Bing” search, which includes Yahoo, dropped slightly, from 26.5% in January to 26.2% in February.
One thing these results do show is that Google users have not yet been so turned off by Google’s search engine changes, including its introduction of social search known as “Search Plus Your World” (SPYW), to have actually migrated over to another competing search portal. Introduced in early January, SPYW adds search results from Google’s social network, Google+, above other organic search results surfaced by Google’s engine. There has been a lot of grumbling about the changes, but nothing that has impacted Google’s use as a search engine. (Google’s public image may be another matter, though).
In addition, it’s also too early to see the results of Google’s decision to merge all its user privacy policies under one umbrella, a change that went live on March 1st. That move had raised the ire of some privacy advocates, but it’s unlikely that this will result in bottom line impacts to Google searches, either.