January 27, 2010, 12:40 PM — A new report from Chitika Research shows that Google has even more significant presence on the iPhone than you might have thought. According to Chitika, Google searches alone account for more than 50 percent of all Internet traffic from mobile device running the iPhone OS.That means Google outstrips all other traffic, including other search sites and all visits to Websites in the phone's browser.
Chitika's findings show that across the Internet as a whole--not just iPhone or mobile Internet--Google search accounts for about 31 percent of Web traffic.
Google has doubtlessly attained an even more commanding position on the iPhone because it's the default search provider in the iPhone's Safari browser. Some iPhone users tend to search for sites via Google rather than type in full URLs.
But what happens if Google loses its prime location on the iPhone and iPod touch, as a recent BusinessWeek report suggests? There has been no shortage of ink spilled about the growing rivalry between Apple and Google. And the Mountain View search behemoth has just released its Google Voice Web app, entirely bypassing Apple's App Store. If a tit-for-tat ensues, we could very well see Google search get demoted on the iPhone, and with that could come a sudden change in fortunes for Google's mobile advertising.
The mobile Web market is changing rapidly, though, and Google's own Android OS is capturing a bigger piece of the pie. The iPhone now accounts for 54 percent of total smartphone traffic. Android has snagged 27 percent. All of this should make the coming year unpredictable and pretty interesting.
One final word about the data: Chitika is a search-based online advertising network, and the company derived its numbers from a sample of traffic through that network. With 700 million impressions to analyze, one can assume that Chitika has used a fairly representative sample, but the report doesn't include a detailed methodology.