Google has increased its US internet search market share, while MSN has been the biggest loser.

While Google continued to grab US internet search market share at a record pace in July, Microsoft's MSN search engine has been the biggest loser over the past year and a half, according to data from Hitwise.

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Google accounted for 70.77 percent of all online search engine queries in the US for the four weeks ending July 26, Hitwise said yesterday. The figure is Google's tenth consecutive record high in monthly search share, and shows strong improvement over the 64.35 percent share it took in July of last year and 63.06 percent in January 2007.

Microsoft's MSN search, by contrast, has taken the worst hit over the past nineteen months. MSN accounted for just 5.36 percent of all US internet search in July, down from 8.79 percent in the same month last year and nearly half the 10.35 percent share MSN held in January, 2007.

The decline in US search share may be one reason Microsoft was so keen to acquire Yahoo's search technology.

MSN has seen a steady decline since February, around the same time Microsoft announced its $44.6bn bid to acquire Yahoo. The world's largest software maker abandoned its original offer.

Yahoo's search engine fared a bit better than MSN's, but Hitwise research also shows a precipitous decline for Yahoo. The company's search engine took an 18.65 percent share of US Internet queries in July, down from 22.13 percent a year ago. Yahoo held a 21.40 percent share of U.S. search in January, 2007. was the only other search engine Hitwise broke out figures for. The Web site accounted for 3.53 percent of US internet searches in July, up from 3.21 percent last year.

The remaining 47 search engines Hitwise tracks accounted for 1.69 percent of US searches, the researcher said.

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