Despite talk of a battle between Internet search engines, Google clearly dominates the market, a recent Macworld UK reader poll reveals.
Macworld asked: "Which search engines do you use?".
An astonishing 95 per cent of readers who voted in the poll (1,180 votes) use Google (1,119 votes).
Competing search services attract little usage, it seems: Yahoo took second place with 26 votes (2 per cent) while MSN received just eight votes (1 per cent). All other services combined attracted just 27 votes, or 2 per cent of the sample group.
If these results reflect common usage patterns, then Google's competitors are working hard to attract handfuls of users just to stay in business.
However, August 2005 data from Search Engine Watch shows a different pattern, at least in the US.
This research sees Google grabbing 36.5 per cent of the market, Yahoo 30.5 per cent, MSN 15.5 per cent, AOL 9.9 per cent with all the others sharing 7.6 per cent of the search market.
However, in both cases Google leads the pack, and reader comments reflect this: "I try others but keep coming back to Google," one reader wrote. "Google is always my first choice. The fact that there's a dedicated facility to use it directly within Safari is a huge bonus," observed another. "I can't remember life before Google," yet another reader wrote.
Complaints: too many ads and privacy
There were some complaints at the market-leading service: "I am increasingly getting frustrated with the paid-for results being more and more evident. I wouldn't mind but they usually have nothing to do with my exact quest, just some vague use of part of a word, and there seem to be more and more of them," one reader observed.
Google's data dominance may also threaten surfer's privacy. "Like many other people I am beginning to have doubts about Google and what it may do with its accumulated data in future."
Think global, act local, readers cry
Apple also comes in for criticism, with UK users explaining that they commonly search using the built-in Google search bar in Safari, but complain that this defaults to Google's US search service. "Why can't Apple make that feature country-specific?" readers cried, complaining at Apple's "Microsoftish" focus on the US.