Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at 12:12 pm.

Why doesn’t Google Search have 100% market share?

“Google” is to search as “Kleenex” is to kleenex. But if that’s the case, why are one-third of searches still happening on other sites?

While it once seemed safe to predict that Google’s share could eventually reach 80%, it now seems stuck around 65%, and has actually declined a bit over the past year, according to comScore.

What’s going on? Why isn’t Google still growing?

  • Google hasn’t lost a lot of share over the past year — about one out of every 66 searches — but it seems that some people are trying Bing, liking it, and going there on purpose. (I don’t know any of those people, but if you’re one of them, I’d love to hear from you. Or if you search at Yahoo, on purpose.) And Google search hasn’t changed that much over the last few years compared to its original night-and-day advantages over Yahoo and the others.
  • A lot of searches still seem to be conducted “by accident” in places where people congregate on the web. For example: Some of the ~45% of people who still use Microsoft Internet Explorer, the millions of people who go to Yahoo and MSN every day for mail and news, and all the toolbar deals that Yahoo and Bing have paid for. Microsoft is also buying market share via ad placements and other initiatives.
  • Search itself is changing, and comScore’s desktop search data doesn’t reflect it. For example, it doesn’t include mobile search and YouTube searches, which are “growing materially faster than U.S. desktop search,” Jefferies analyst Youssef Squali notes today.

Still, it’s interesting to think of such a dominant player stuck at two-thirds market share… and Facebook hasn’t even started its inevitable push into search yet.

Related: The most impressive thing about Yahoo is that it still exists