July 22, 2005

AOL, AskJeeves Search Growth Outpace Leaders

NEW YORK (Reuters) -- Although accounting for just a fraction of Google Inc.'s quarterly cumulative search numbers, America Online and Ask Jeeves Inc. search growth are starting to close in, according to a new study.

Between the first and second quarters of this year, the number of searches made on AOL, the online division of Time Warner Inc. and Ask Jeeves grew 15 percent and 16 percent respectively, according to a Nielsen/Netratings study released on Thursday.

By comparison, the number of searches on Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc. grew 6 percent and 9 percent respectively over the same period. The number of searches on Microsoft's MSN fell 4 percent.

"While it's far too early to say that Google needs to watch its back, a resurgent AOL makes the game a lot more interesting," Ken Cassar, director of strategic analysis, Nielsen//NetRatings said in a statement.

Google Inc. remains the clear leader in the search category with 6.1 billion searches in the second quarter, compared to AOL's 646.6 million searches.

Overall, search figures grew 5 percent over the first and second quarters.

Image searches fueled much of the growth in online searches, with growth in the category led by MSN and AOL, which saw the number of image searches jump 90 percent and 74 percent in the first two quarters this year.

Google's image search figures grew 12 percent in the same period.


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