Google, Ask Search Engine Market Share Drops

For a while, Google’s search market share have steadily gained ground. There must be an end to that.

Both Google’s and Ask.com’s power in the Internet search market weakened a bit in December, according to a report by Nielsen Netratings. Microsoft and AOL gained from those losses.

Nielsen said that in December Mountain View-based Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), the top search provider by market share, had a 56.3 percent share of the search market, down from a 57.7 percent share the previous month.

Oakland-based Ask.com, the No. 5 search provider, dropped to 2.2 percent in December from 2.7 percent in November.

At the same time Sunnyvale-based Yahoo, in No. 2 behind Google, saw a slight decrease to 17.7 percent from 17.9 percent the previous month.

Meanwhile, the No. 3 provider Microsoft Corp. saw a gain to 13.8 percent from the previous month’s 12 percent, and No. 4 AOL Search was up to 4.7 percent from 4.5 percent in November.