The latest data from comScore shows that Google has fallen below 65% of the U.S. search market for the first time in more than year, with Yahoo and Microsoft's Bing gaining ever so slightly.
Google's share of overall U.S.-based searches slipped to 64.8% in August from 65.1% in July. Meanwhile, Yahoo -- whose searches are powered by Microsoft under a deal worked out a couple of years ago by former Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz -- saw its share of U.S. searches inch up to 16.3% from 16.1% in August, while Der Bingle also gained 0.3% to grab 14.7% of the U.S. market.
It's the first time Google has dropped below 65% of the U.S. search market since May or June of 2010, depending on which comScore press release you're looking at. A release from July 2010 shows Google with a 62.6% share in June 2010, but a month later comScore credited Google with a 66.2% share in June. Looks like a "2" and a "6" were flipped, but it's hard to tell which way. (It also makes you wonder a bit about comScore.)
The 63.7% credited to Google in May 2010 is consistent, so we'll use that as a reference point.
Either way, Google is below 65% for the first time since last summer.
As I wrote recently, at this rate of attrition, Google is a long way from ceding its U.S. search market lead. In fact, the attrition rate hardly has been consistent; Google has followed months of losses with gains, which is why, despite the seemingly endless supply of "Google is losing search market share" articles over the past year, the company's share still remains in the mid-60s.
Further, Google has been aggressively (and noisily) updating its search algorithms to improve user results, so it doesn't appear to be sitting on its substantial lead. That's smart. Complacency has done in no small number of tech market leaders over the years.
It'll be interesting to see if Google's ever-so-slight downward drift continues through this year.