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Google Widens Search Lead As Growth Slows

Google increased its market share lead over search competitors Yahoo, MSN, and Time Warner Network, even as it issued a warning that its growth was slowing.

Internet audience measurement service comScore Networks said Google's share of the search market reached 41.4% in January, up more than 6% points from a year earlier. Meanwhile, Google CFO George Reyes warned of slowing growth for his company at a Merrill Lynch investment conference in New York Tuesday.

Yahoo, MSN, and Time Warner Network all lost market share during that period, according to comScore. Yahoo saw the number of searches conducted on its network decline 3.1%, leaving its search market share in January at 28.7%. MSN lost 2.3%, leaving it with 13.7% of the search market. Time Warner slipped 1.7% to 7.9%.

Ask Jeeves, which recently ditched its fusty butler mascot, rebranded itself Ask.com, and rolled out new search technology as part of an ongoing effort to improve its standing, managed to attract more searches, gaining 0.5% to reach 5.6%.

Interestingly, Google and Yahoo are neck and neck when it comes to searches that originate in browser tool bars. Some 49.5% of toolbar searches went to Google in January, while 45.5% went to Yahoo. MSN's toolbar generated only 3.1% of toolbar searches in January. Of those 5.48 billion searches in January, 646 million of them came from toolbars.

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