Nearly three out of four U.S. Internet search users turned to search-engine powerhouse Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) in September.Bottom of Form In a report released Friday, Experian Hitwise said Google accounted for 72.15% of all U.S. online searches for the four weeks ending Oct. 2.

That number represents 1% gain sequentially, Experian Hitwise said.

A distant second was Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) Bing, garnering 23.64%. Bing-powered search is the result of a 10-year partnership between Microsoft and Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO), but on a standalone basis, Yahoo! Search could muster 13.54%. That's a 5% sequential drop. Bing, meanwhile, gained 2% sequentially to climb to 10.10%.

The remaining 65 search engines, including Ask.com (2.37%) combined to account for 4.22% of U.S. searches, according to the Hitwise Search Engine Analysis.

Experian Hitwise also said Google is the greatest source of online traffic to key U.S. industries. Google search accounted for 30.03% of the traffic to the travel industry, 22.38% to automotive, 20.10% to shopping, and 16.29% to health.

Google continues to set the benchmark in online search and defines how Internet users browse the Web. Last month, it launched Google Instant, a feature that displays results as a user types and promises to shave off two to three seconds in search time.

However, Bing is an emerging threat. Although small compared with Google, Bing has been growing phenomenally since its launch in June 2009. Last month, it witnessed double-digit sequential growth in searches for health (61%), shopping (55%), automotive (53%), and travel (41%).

Shares of Google closed up 1.20% at $536.35 on Friday. Microsoft shares closed up 0.16% at $24.57, and Yahoo! closed up 1.83% at $14.49.


International Business Times, the Global Business News Leader

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