Search and song were fit to be featured this past week. Let's take a closer look.

Another chapter in Google's total domination
In a move that should surprise no one, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) continues to gain market share in the search-engine space at the expense of larger rivals like Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) and Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT)

ComScore is reporting that Google's slice of the online search pie has grown from 36.3% to 42.3% over the past year. Clearly, Google is doing a lot of things right. The strong performance of its stock, which has more than quadrupled since the company went public in the summer of 2004, has helped enhance the brand. Meanwhile, its AdSense network for third-party websites has helped spread Google's reach into the farthest corners of the Internet.

Naturally, all of this exposure would be wasted if Google didn't also have a top-notch search engine, and clearly it does. The only legitimate competitor to gain market share in this time was IAC/InterActiveCorp's (NASDAQ:IACI)

The former Ask Jeeves site has come a long way. I'll admit that I was as annoyed as the next person over the new ads, which feature folks acting like monkeys at a coffeehouse. But once I gave the revamped search engine a shot, I was impressed. The results were respectable, and I like the binoculars feature, where you can preview what a webpage looks like before actually visiting it.

With just 6% of the search engine market, isn't going to force Google into any sleepless nights. But the familiar search engine's attempt to try new things, and the money is spending to promote its new look, merit Google's close attention if it wants a thicker slice of the market by this time next year.

Hearing it from both sides
I got a fair deal of feedback after writing about Apple Computer's (NASDAQ:AAPL) move to update the software on its latest batch of iPods. After three months of criticism from the media on the dangers of listening to iPods at a high volume, Apple's new update allows listeners to set a maximum decibel level.

I argued that Apple was taking the fall by being held to a different media standard than the countless other makers of digital media players out there, which are putting out products with the same potential for hearing loss.

Some readers weren't happy that I was dismissing the class action lawsuit possibilities. Others, on the other side of the argument, found it ridiculous that Apple should have to resort to this publicity stunt to appease critics. Usually, when I'm hearing it from both sides, I rest easy thinking that I provided a balanced overview. (Either that, or I'm writing about Sirius (NASDAQ:SIRI), where it seems that both the bull and bear camps are always unhappy.)

One person compared folks suing Apple to consumers suing an automaker after a driver crashes at 100 miles per hour. The analogy doesn't hold up, of course. There are laws that regulate speed limits in this country, but there is no law intervening in what goes on between a pair of earbuds. However, I was encouraged by the feedback. I may not have heard from everyone who purchased one of the 42 million iPods that Apple has sold through the end of 2005, but it's good to know that I stumbled across a hot topic.

You should protect your ears if you find yourself listening to digital tunes for long periods of time. But you should also protect your mind if you find yourself thinking about it for too long.

Until next week, I remain,

Rick Munarriz

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz loves to look back, even if it means he falls on his face going forward. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. The Foo l has a disclosure policy. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.