Google still dominates search experience, Yahoo catching up - study

Google features and performance allow the search engine to remain the favorite search engine of Internet users, Keynote Systems reports. The analysis firm, which is known mainly for measuring the responsiveness of websites, draws this conclusion from a two-week survey and study that included 2000 users.

"Google is still king of the Web when it comes to search, and wins consumers' praise in relatively new search categories, such as image search, and continues to perform well in the more established search categories," said Dr. Bonny Brown, director of research and public services for Keynote.

"Despite active competitive maneuverings, Google's challengers have yet to break the leader's grip on consumers' affections. The clear appeal of Google's homepage, as well as its presentation of sponsored ads and the overall usefulness of its ads continue to be important factors in Google's continuing success," the analyst said.

According to Keynote, Google outperformed its competitors in 13 categories that are believed to be critical for a search engine's business success. The factors included general search quality, local search quality and image search quality. However, Yahoo apparently is catching up and showed improvements across the board.

"Yahoo! demonstrated its staying power in the latest study, holding its ground with Google, and posting a clear lead over its other competitors," Keynote said. Yahoo ranked second in 12 of Keynote's categories and "most competitively" performed with Google in the local and image search categories, according to the research firm. When searching for local services or information, 82% of Yahoo users reported task success, as compared to 83% of Google users, and 66% of Yahoo users were very satisfied with their search as compared to 71% of Google users. AskJeeves was ranked as the third most favorite search site, followed by MSN Search and AOL public search.